High cost, bias, and long delays prevent Ghanaians from using formal justice system, Afrobarometer survey shows

Ghanaians say high costs, a bias in favour of the rich and powerful, and long delays are the three most important barriers that prevent citizens from using the formal justice system, according to a recent Afrobarometer survey.

While most Ghanaians endorse the legitimacy of the courts, they also see court officials as corrupt and untrustworthy, and believe people are treated unequally under the law.

The findings show that among those who had contact with the justice system during the previous year, many rate the system as high on corruption and low on fairness and transparency.

Ghana is a signatory to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Maputo Protocol, both of which oblige the state to ensure that citizens have access to the delivery of justice. But conditions necessary to ensure efficient and equal access to judicial systems, such as affordability, proximity, comprehensibility, and responsiveness, are not in place for a number of Ghanaians.