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List of all chief justices in Ghana since independence

Chief Justice of Ghana
Chief Justice of Ghana

In Ghana, the Chief Justice’s office is considered one of the most prestigious positions. 

This position is held by the top judge of Ghana’s Supreme Court. 

As head of the judiciary, the Chief Justice facilitates its administration and supervision.

 So, who is the Chief Justice of Ghana? 

The Ghanaian Supreme Court has appointed several judges, among whom will be Chief Justice of Ghana. 

How many judges are on the Supreme Court in Ghana? 

A minimum of 10 Supreme Court nominees are allowed to serve on the bench.

 List of Ghana’s Chief Justices since 1957 

Throughout Ghana’s 64 years of independence, 14 judges served as its Chief Justice. 

Usually, the Chief Justice of Ghana is either male or female. 

Listed below are the names of Ghana’s Chief Justices since independence, along with the name of Ghana’s current Chief Justice. 

NAME  PERIOD
1 Sir David Patrick Chambers   1876-1878
2 P.A. Smith Esq.     1878-1879
3 Sir James Marshall   1880-1882
4 N. Lessingham Balley Esq.  1882-1886
5 H.W. Macleod    1886-1889
6 J.T. Hutchinson Esq.     188-1895
7 Sir William Brandford Grififith   1895-1911
8 Philip Crampton Symly   1911-1928
9 Sir  George Campbell Deane    1929-1935
10 Sir Philip Bertie Petrides  1936-1943
11 Sir Walter Harrangin  1943-1947
12 Sir Mark Wilson  1948-1956
13 Sir Arku Korsah, Esq.  1956-1963
14 J. Sarkodie-Addo, Esq.  1964-1966
15 Edward Akuffo Addo    1966-1970
16 E.A.L. Bannerman, Esq.  1970-1972
17 Samuel Azu Crabbe, Esq.   1973-1977
18 F.K. Apaloo, Esq.  1977-1986
19 E.N.P. Sowah, Esq.    1986-1990
20 Philip Edward Archer, Esq.  1991-1995
21 Isaac Kobina Abban, Esq.   1995-2001
22 Edward Kwame Wiredu   2001-2003
23 George Kingsley Acquah    2003-2007
24 Georgina Theodora Wood   2007-2017
25 Sophia A. B. Akuffo 2017- 2020
26 Anin Yeboah 2020- Date

Profile

  • Sir Kobina Arku Korsah, Esq 1957-1963
Sir Kobina Arku Korsah
Sir Kobina Arku Korsah

Known as Ghana’s first Chief Justice, Kobina Arku Korsah has become a legendary name in Ghanaian history. 

During his tenure in the office, Ghana was still known as Gold Coast one year before it became independent. 

1957 saw the declaration of independence and the change of name of the Gold Coast to Ghana. 

Having retained the post, Sir Kobina Arku Korsah became the first Chief Justice of Ghana. 

Julius Sarkodie-Addo succeeded him in office.

  •  Julius Sarkodie-Addo, Esq 1964-1966 

As the second Chief Justice, Julius Sarkodie-Addo was appointed by President Kwame Nkrumah in 1964. 

In 1966, the military forcibly removed him. 

After Kwame Nkrumah was thrown out of office in February 1966, his removal followed.

 In January 1972, in Accra, Julius Sarkodie-Addo passed away.

  • Edward Akuffo Addo 1966-1970 
Edward Akuffo Addo
Edward Akuffo Addo

He was a Supreme Court judge before becoming Ghana’s Chief Justice.

 As Chief Justice, he served for four years under the National Liberation Council (NLC). 

Edward Akuffo became president of the Republic of Ghana in 1970, after leaving the office of chief justice.

  • Edmund Alexander Lanquaye Bannerman, Esq 1970-1972 

In 1970, Edmund Bannerman served as a judge on the Supreme Court. 

When Edward Akuffo became Ghana’s president, he became acting Chief Justice. 

His official appointment as Chief Justice of Ghana occurred in 1971, but he was removed by the National Redemption Council in 1972 following the coup. 

He died at 67 years of age in June 1983.

  •  Samuel Azu Crabbe, Esq 1973-1977 
Samuel Azu Crabbe
Samuel Azu Crabbe

In 1973, the National Redemption Council appointed him Chief Justice of Ghana. 

The position he held for four years was later filled by Fred Kwasi. 

In 1977, Crabbe was honored by the International Association of Trial Lawyers for his accomplishments. 

He died in Accra, Ghana, at the age of 86.

  • Fred Kwasi Apaloo, Esq 1977-1986 
Fred Kwasi Apaloo
Fred Kwasi Apaloo

Samuel Azu Crabbe was succeeded by Fred Kwasi in 1977. 

Acheampong, President of the Supreme Military Council, appointed him. 

In September 1979, after the nation regained democratic leadership under Hilla Limann, Fred Kwasi continued to serve as Chief Justice of Ghana. 

After serving nine years as a barrister and judge, he retired at 65 in 1986. 

He is the only Supreme Court judge in Ghana’s history to have served in the first three republics. 

  • Ernest Nee Pobee Sowah, Esq 1986-1990
Ernest Nee Pobee Sowah
Ernest Nee Pobee Sowah

In 1986, President Jerry Rawlings appointed Ernest Sowah Chief Justice of Ghana in succession to Fred Kwasi Apaloo. 

 Despite being over the compulsory retirement age, he served for four years as Chief Justice of PNDC. 

He stepped down in 1990 and was succeeded by Philip Edward Archer. 

  • Philip Edward Archer, Esq 1991-1995 

During his time in the judicial service, the retired judge had a distinguished career. 

He was awarded the Order of the Star of Ghana for his service to Ghana.

While in the judiciary, he held posts such as registrar general, judicial secretary, High Court judge, and Supreme Court judge. 

Philip Edward Archer retired as a judge in 1983, but that did not prevent him from becoming Chief Justice of Ghana.

He was appointed Chief Justice in 1991 by President Jerry Rawlings. 

His tenure as Chief Justice ended in 1995. 

His service to Ghana earned him the Order of the Star of Ghana honours. 

The death of Phillip Edward Archer occurred in Ghana on May 10, 2002.

  •  Isaac Kobina Abban, Esq 1995-2001 
 Isaac Kobina Abban
Isaac Kobina Abban

Kobina returned to the Ghanaian judiciary in 1993 and became a member of the Supreme Court of Ghana.

 From 1990 to 1993, he was Chief Justice of Seychelles. 

His return to Ghana led to his appointment as Chief Justice of Ghana on February 22, 1995. 

On April 21, 2001, he died in Accra of complications related to his health. 

  • Edward Kwame Wiredu, 2001-2003 
Edward Kwame Wiredu
Edward Kwame Wiredu

John Kufuor appointed Edward Kwame Wiredu as Chief Justice in 2001. 

He spent two years in the Fourth Republic.

Due to health concerns, he retired after just two years as Chief Justice. 

Despite his short tenure, Edward Kwame Wiredu was known for introducing Fast Track High Courts, the Judicial Institute, and Alternative Dispute Resolution in Ghana. 

On January 31, 2008, he passed away at the age of 73.

  • George Kingsley Acquah, 2003-2007
George Kingsley Acquah
George Kingsley Acquah

John Kufuor appointed George Kingsley as Chief Justice of Ghana, a position he held until his death. 

On July 4, 2003, he succeeded Edward Kwame Wiredu in office. 

Sadly, he passed away from cancer on March 25, 2007 while still serving as Chief Justice.

  • Georgina Theodora Wood, 2007-2017
Georgina Theodora Wood
Georgina Theodora Wood

In May 2007, Ladyship Georgina Theodora Wood became the first female chief justice in Ghana. 

She was sworn in as the 12th Chief Justice of Ghana on June 15, 2007 by President John Kufuor.

Her 35 years of experience in the judicial system prepared her for this appointment. 

Her career began in 1974 as a District Magistrate, and she went on to become presiding judge of the court of appeals in 1991. 

During her tenure as Chief Justice of Ghana, Georgina Wood swore in four presidents. 

After her retirement in June 2017, Sophia Akuffo became Chief Justice.

  •  Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo, 2017-2020 
Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo
Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo

Sofia Akuffo was appointed by Nana Akuffo Addo on May 11, 2017. 

Throughout her career in the judiciary, she distinguished herself as a candidate for the Supreme Court. 

Before becoming Chief Justice, she served in that role for 22 years, i.e., from 1995 to 2017. 

On June 19, 2017, President Akuffo Addo sworn in Sofia Akuffo as the 13th Chief Justice. 

Sofia Akuffo expressed her gratitude for making her career successful to the late and current presidents as she stepped down from her position. 

Her thanks went out to the late John Atta Mills, the late Jerry Rawlings, John Kufuor and John Mahama, who supported her, and Nana Akufo Addo, who appointed her.

  •  Kwasi Anin Yeboah, 2020- Date
Kwasi Anin Yeboah
Kwasi Anin Yeboah

Having succeeded Sophia Akuffo as the chief justice of Ghana, Anin Yeboah now serves as the current chief justice. 

Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo-Addo nominated him in December 2019. 

His appointment marks the return of male leadership to the judicial service after 13 years of female leadership.

Supreme Court justices in Ghana 

Both male and female judges can be appointed to the Supreme Court, which supports gender equality. 

Who are the 7 Supreme Court justices in Ghana? 

They include: 

  • Jones Dotse 
  • Paul Baffoe 
  • Yaw Appau 
  • Gabriel Pwamang 
  • Samuel K. Marful-Sau 
  • Agnes M.A Dordzie 
  • Nene Abayaateye Ofoe Amegatcher 

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