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Barbara Tetteh-Charway

Justice of the High Court, Ghana.

Why did you decide to study law?

My secondary school teacher told me, after reading my essays, that I had what it took to become a lawyer so when I was faced with the choice between reading law or business administration at the University, I chose law.

What is your proudest professional moment thus far?

When the President of Ghana appointed me as Legal Counsel to a Commission of Enquiry which was set up to investigate misappropriation of state funds.

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Looking back, what is one decision/action you would have done differently?

I should have worked in all the Departments of the Attorney General's Office before joining the bench.

Share some major professional challenges you have faced, or continue to face as a woman in law.

It is common for parties who are aggrieved by what they deem to be unfair treatment to write a petition to the Chief Justice complaining about the conduct of a judge or other court officer. But where those petitions are full of misinformation, it can be extremely provocative. I recall an instance when a petitioner complained to the Chief Justice that I had sentenced an accused person to a prison term without conducting a trial. The Chief Justice assigned a Supreme Court Justice to look into the matter. I showed him the Record of Proceedings and he was satisfied that a full trial had been conducted contrary to the petitioner's complaint. When such petitions are filed in an ongoing case my inclination is to recuse myself from the matter. However this is subject to the approval of the Chief Justice.

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What are some practical strategies for survival in the legal profession?

It takes, among others, hard work, continuous personal development, having at least one mentor and the ability to relate with all kinds of people to survive in this profession.

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