Comparative Law – Ghanian Law Now More Accessible

I’m surprised that we haven’t talked about Ghana in Slaw – especially ((as every articling student in a corporate rotation knows)) the grand-daddy of modern corporate law statutes in the Commonwealth ((Yes, older than the Dickerson Report which led to the CBCA or the Iacobucci/Prithard/Pilkington report which spawned the ABCA)) was the work which Jim Gower did on company law in Ghana in the late Fifties ((See Reform of Company Law in Ghana, Journal of African Law, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Autumn, 1958), pp. 140-142)). Gower’s life is one example of a dying breed, the peripatetic English academic/law reformer ((See Jim Gower: An Appreciation, The Modern Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 2 (Mar., 1998), pp. 127-131)), who could still be spotted in some Canadian law schools in the Seventies. Gower’s Company Law remains the most intelligent book on the subject.

But back to Ghana. It’s been in a bad way from a legal information perspective: Ghana has a poor legal information culture. Ghana’s statutes, law journal articles, law reports and regulatory notices that issue from government agencies are generally in bad shape. Regulatory notices are not systematically compiled, even by the agencies that issue them. Statutes have not been comprehensively consolidated and published since the mid-1950s.

A snap shot of current sources include:

How to Research the Law in Ghana
(2005)

A variety of materials in hard copy ((Thanks to the LoC))

The International Finance Corporation’s page of links to Ghanaian commercial law.

Worldlii’s Links to Ghana

The IRB’s National Documentation Package for Ghana

And finally for our favourite property law prof, its Land Law cases.

So what’s changing? An ICT company, DataCenta, has facilitated research on Ghana’s laws by putting the full text of all reported judgements published in the Ghana Law Reports from 1959 and All England Law Reports from 1936 on fully searchable CD-ROM of online format.

I haven’t checked it all out, but the site claims to have computerized the following legal materials:

1. Acts of the 4th Republic
2. Business & Financial Laws (Solon2.31)
3. Consolidated Statutes of Ghana (Solon 2.4)
4. Executive Instruments (Vol. 2 – 4)
5. Ghana Law Dictionary (This first edition of the Law Dictionary is a compilation of more than 4000 statutory definitions of words and phrases)
6. Ghana Law Forum (Legal News and marketplace for legal ideas)
7. Ghana Law Reports (Solon 4.21) (All volumes in print)
8. Index to the Law Reports (A thematic index to all the Law reports of Ghana and the Gold Coast, Ghana Law Reports, the Supreme Court Law Reports, the Ghana Bar Law reports, the West African Court of Appeal and the West African Law Reports)
9. Human Rights Laws (Statutes, Cases, Articles, and Treaties on Human Rights Law)
10. Judgments of the Superior Courts
11. Law Journals of Ghana :-
+ Banking & Financial Law Journal
+ University of Ghana Law Journal
+ Review of Ghana Law
12. Legislative Instruments (Includes Legislative Notices, Constitutional Acts and Constitutional Instruments)
13. Mental Health Statutes (Compilation of some Mental Health related statutes)
14. Regulatory Notices

Coming Soon!
Case Citator
This is an analysis of how every reported case has been adopted, cited, distinguished, critized or commented upon in subsequent case law.

Procedures
A compilation of Court Rules and Proceudres form the Ghanaian Superior Courts

Other Products
Solon 1 –PNDC Laws
Solon 3 –Trade laws, cases and law journal articles
Bankline 1 — Bank of Ghana Notices to the public
Bankline 2 –Bank of Ghana Notices to financial institutions and to the public.
Contract Cases & Laws –Compilation of Ghanaian Cases & Laws on Contracts

DataCenta has plans to move forward to the tasks of consolidation, cross-referencing and annotation of statutes to case law and to law journal articles.

And a shout-out to our friends at Lexis-Nexis for their support

Comments

  1. Thanks for this information. Researching the legal systems in West Africa is sometimes difficult on the Internet and anything that helps to bridge this digital divide is going to be helpful

  2. Tejumade in Ghana

    There is another small company in Ghana which provides a digitalized version of the Ghana law Reports, the judgments of the West African Court of Appeal(WACA) the West African Law Reports and all the laws of Ghana in a fully searchable form. It is called the Digital Attorney. I have used it for 4 years and it is, for its price, a great package and is a great resource especially for students who may not be able to afford what Data centa has on offer. You’re right – access to legal information in Ghana is so difficult and expensive and this discourages researchers.

  3. My email is jakpalu@gmail.com. Can Tejumade please inform me and others how to contact the Digital Attorney to acquire their software?

  4. Hi John

    The only reference I’ve been able to find on the web is at http://www.ssnit.com/Details_news_ssnit.cfm?EmpID=265&departmentId=1 The content there (undated) seems to imply that Digital Attorney may not be actually available yet.