The Ghana Bar Association (GBA) has eulogised the soon-to-retire Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, for her strong advocacy on upholding and maintaining high standards, professional ethics, dignity and integrity in the legal profession in Ghana.
A citation read by the President of the GBA, Mr Anthony Forson, on behalf of the entire Bar at a thanksgiving service in honour of Ms Akuffo, at the Kaneshie Presbyterian Church, stated as follows, “Your Ladyship Sophia A. B. Akuffo, your strong advocacy with respect to upholding and maintaining standards, professional ethics, dignity and integrity in the legal profession is worthy of mention. You marshalled the closure of dilapidated court structures which is evidence of your deep desire to ensure that the places of justice delivery in this country are dignified.”
“During your long career as a Lawyer and a Judge, you exhibited exceptional leadership qualities which are evident for all to see. You displayed leadership in your relationship with the Bar and Bench. You engaged with several Regional Bars when you toured the various regions in the country. You also offered your maximum support to the Bar in reviving and calendarising of the Bench, Bar and Faculty Lectures,” the citation further read.
The final part of the citation read: “For the aforementioned sterling qualities, exemplary leadership, distinguished and dedicated service to Ghana, Africa and the Legal Profession, the Ghana Bar Association hereby confers on you the meritorious honour of Outstanding and Dedicated Performance, Commitment to the Legal Profession and the Administration of Justice; Patriotism in your Judicial Career as a Judge; Loyalty and Devotion to Ghana and the African Continent.”
Response of Her Ladyship
Ms Akuffo, in her response to the eulogy of the GBA said she acknowledges that her relationship with the Bar over the years has been “bitter sweet”.
“But that is how the best relationships normally are because without friction, you don’t get movement. We able to move only because of the friction between our feet. I am very grateful to the Ghana Bar and to Mr. Forson for his kind words. From the sidelines, I am still going to be very critical about standards because as for standards, we must never let them drop,” she posited.
The District Minister of the Tema North District of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Rev. Dr. George Kwapong, delivered the sermon at the Thanksgiving Service. He admonished the outgoing Chief Justice and the congregation of judges, lawyers, and judicial service staff to offer their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ and live according to the tenets of scripture as has been the story of Ms Akuffo. He urged journalists in Ghana to be circumspect with their reportage in order not to divide the country unnecessarily.
The Lady Chief Justice
Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo will retire from the Judiciary and from the Bench on the 20 December 2019, as she attains the age of 70, which is the retirement age for serving Justices of the Supreme Court.
Ms Akuffo enrolled to the Bar in Ghana on the 2nd of October, 1975. From her practice as a lawyer she was identified by then President Jerry John Rawlings and elevated to the Supreme Court of Ghana in November 1995 and has served to date.