A Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Stephen Brobbey, has called for the strengthening of the Regional and National Houses of Chiefs for the expeditious resolution of potentially explosive chieftaincy issues.
He said that would prevent conflicts and help resolve protracted chieftaincy disputes.
He also proposed that chiefs needed to assert themselves and use their authority to strengthen the institution and make it better to serve the nation.
At a day’s seminar on “Knowledge Exchange on Customary Law Traditions in Ghana,” Justice Brobbey, who is finalising his drafts for a book on the chieftaincy institution, underscored the relevance of the institution to the development of laws and social cohesion in the country.
The seminar was organised by the Judicial Service of Ghana, the Canadian University Services Organisation (CUSA-Ghana) and the National Judicial Institute, Canada, with sponsorship from CIDA.
It forms part of a collaborative programme between the Judicial Service of Ghana and Canada, under which knowledge is shared through exchange programmes and seminars.
Justice Brobbey’s presentation was based on his research findings on chieftaincy and customary law. Speaking on the topic “The General Role of Traditional Authorities in the Development of Customary Law”, he noted that the customary law predated all laws.
Justice Brobbey said chiefs had played an important role in the development of customary laws, thereby making such laws part of the laws of the country recognised by the Constitution.
He said some progressive chiefs had gone further to shape some customs to conform to changes in the social set-up and cited cases in which while pouring libation, some chiefs, in order to embrace the concerns of others, made concessions and referred to deities others also believed in.
A former Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice and Executive Director of the National Judicial Institute, Justice Brian W. Lennox, in his remarks, said the partnership would enable participants from Canada to have a better understanding of customary law.
The country representative of CUSO-Ghana, Mr Lawrence Amesu, said an important outcome of the partnership of the institutions was the mutual sharing of information and ideas.
Prof Justice Modibo Ocran, another justice of the Supreme Court, Dr Josiah Ayeh of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, Legon and Dr Daanaa????????, a Principal Research Officer of the Chieftaincy Secretariat and National House of Chiefs, also presented papers, while the Juabenhene, Nana Oti Boateng and the Queen of the Tefle Traditional Area, Mama Asigble, made contributions.