AMANDLA! VANGUARD EDITION
Estelle Matilda Appiah
Legislative Drafting Consultant
Former Director of Legislative Drafting, Attorney General's Department, Ghana
Qualified to practice in the UK, Ghana and Lesotho.
My Story, Your Inspiration
Law has been a family tradition since 1902 when my West Indian grandfather George James Christian, a lawyer, came to the Gold Coast as a “Returned Exile” instead of going back to Dominica his birthplace. My mother Essi Matilda Forster was the first woman lawyer in the Gold Coast in 1947. I chose to follow her footsteps as legislative counsel at the Attorney-General’s Department, Ministry of Justice, Ghana, where I was the Director of Legislative Drafting from January 2005-March 2011. In that capacity, I was responsible for the legislation of the Republic of Ghana with the status of a Court of Appeal Judge.
The highlight contributions of my career at the Ministry and subsequently as a legislative drafting consultant have included the preparation of social policy legislation that transcends cultural and civil law perspectives. My keen interest has been the preparation of legislation that improves the quality of people’s lives, advances their wellbeing and curbs inequality. To that end, I have been proudly concerned with legislation on children, domestic violence, female genital mutilation, affirmative action, mental health and social protection amongst others. It has been rewarding to be involved with crafting these laws. I have published on diverse subjects that include mental health legislation, the property rights of spouses, legislation on Anti-Corruption Initiatives in Ghana, terrorism, the proliferation of small arms, social protection, affirmative action, Climate change and West Indian Patriots in West Africa.
Training and sharing knowledge in legislative drafting has been my strength. My ultimate object has been to draft legislation that is clear, concise and easily understood in furtherance of the Rule of Law. I believe that African Women Lawyers should make it a point to write articles for publication about their legal experience. At international fora I have been keen to share case studies about law making in Ghana to have the voice from Africa heard.