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A WORTHY LEGAL COMPANION!

THE HANDBOOK ON CIVIL PROCEDURE & PRACTICE IN GHANA:

Rules, Cases, Commentary & Precedents.

By: Francisca Serwaa Boateng


Ms. Boateng signing a copy of her book at her book launch. Credit: Ms. Francisca Serwaa Boateng.

The book, The Handbook on Civil Procedure & Practice in Ghana, was launched on Friday, 8th September 2023, at FSB Law Consult’s premises in Accra. It covers 42 chapters and spans across 1,197 pages. It is the first comprehensive book on Civil Procedure ever written by a female lawyer in Ghana. The book comes complete with a discussion of the rules of civil procedure in the trial Circuit and High Courts (and, to some extent, the appellate courts), as well as decided cases and commentaries. Most importantly, as the first of its kind in Ghana, the book contains precedents on court forms and processes to assist the law student and the new lawyer in honing their skills in drafting court documents. One high point of the book is its detailed coverage of the entire litigation process, written in chronological, clear and simple language that appeals to everyone, including lay clients.


The aim of the book is to introduce law students early in their studies, at both the Degree and Professional Course levels, to the procedure in civil litigation. This will help demystify the subject of Civil Procedure and make it more interesting to students. The book also serves as a quick reference point for lawyers in private law practice and in-house corporate lawyers, many of whom are now doing more courtroom practice than it used to be the case a few years ago. It is a worthy companion for academics and legal researchers as well.


The book covers the entire litigation process, from matters to consider before starting a case, the initial filing of a case through to the application for directions, trial, judgment and execution of judgments. It also covers the various applications parties may file in court in the life of a case under litigation. Additionally, the procedure for handling specific cases such as commercial actions, defamation, enforcement of human rights, divorce and other matrimonial cases, probate and administration actions, maritime actions, intellectual property rights proceedings and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitral awards are treated in detail.


A Brief Outline of the Book - The Handbook on Civil Procedure & Practice in Ghana


A photo of the book. Credit: Ms. Francisca Serwaa Boateng

After considering the preliminary steps to take before starting a civil case in court to actually filing the case in Part I, Part II considers the various forms of judgment that a party can obtain from a court without the need to go through a trial. This is possible because the rules of court allow parties to truncate the trial processes where the court can enter judgment for a plaintiff without holding a trial. This includes situations where the defendant fails to file an appearance after he has been served with a writ, the defendant has no defence to the plaintiff’s liquidated claim, and the defendant admits the plaintiff’s claim or both parties agree to judgment by consent. Part III considers the various applications a party can make when a case is pending in court. These include applications for discontinuance, withdrawal, payment into court, application for directions, and all other general and specific applications parties can make in pending proceedings, including injunctions.


It is in Part IV that the processes involved in a full-fledged hearing are discussed. Here, matters such as setting down a case for trial, preparing witness statements, proceedings at trial and written addresses are considered. The vexed issue of costs in litigation is also discussed. Going to court is one thing. Getting judgment and reaping the fruits of the judgment is a different thing altogether. Thus, Part V discusses judgments and the methods and processes parties employ in executing different forms of judgments. Other post-judgment proceedings, like interpleader proceedings, are also considered. Still, on post-judgment processes, Part VI focuses on appeals and applications for judicial review of court orders and judgments. This part ends the general discussions on the procedures for instituting civil actions.


In Part VII, the discussion is focused on the procedure for bringing specific actions before the courts for trial. The specific actions covered are defamation, commercial action, moneylenders and mortgage actions, insolvency proceedings, debenture holder’s action, maritime action, intellectual property rights proceedings, matrimonial cases and matters concerning probate and administration of estates. The discussions also centre on the court’s role in arbitration proceedings to secure the enforcement of arbitration agreements and clauses. The enforcement of the fundamental human rights enshrined in the 1992 Constitution and the rules applicable to proceedings transferred to the High Court for trial are also discussed in this part.


In the book, all discussions relating to the private international law aspects of civil proceedings are discussed in Part VIII. Thus, matters concerning the procedure for service of foreign processes, obtaining evidence for foreign courts, reciprocal enforcement of judgments, enforcement of foreign maintenance orders and enforcement of foreign arbitral awards are discussed. Finally, Part IX covers what could loosely be described as the administrative aspects of the courts’ work. These include provisions on lawyers who represent parties before the courts, the registrars and bailiffs (also known as process servers) attached to the courts, how court documents are produced, papers and printing of notices, court sittings, office hours and vacations, computation of time in civil cases and the effect of non-compliance with the rules of civil procedure.


About the author

Francisca Serwaa Boateng is a lawyer of over 25 years standing at the Bar. She has spent almost her entire law career in private law practice. She is the Founder & Managing Counsel at FSB Law Consult, Accra, Ghana, where she leads the civil litigation team across the law firm’s areas of practice. She has handled civil cases at all levels of the court system up to the Supreme Court. Francisca is also a notary public.


Francisca graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) Degree from the University of Ghana. She was called to the Bar in 1998 after completing Ghana School of Law, where she was awarded the prize for Best Female Student in the Law of Evidence. In 2002, she obtained a Masters in Law (LL.M) Degree from Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.


Francisca is a member of the International Bar Association, Ghana Bar Association, African Women Lawyers Association and African Arbitration Association. She is a former Vice-President of the Greater Accra Branch of the Ghana Bar Association. She has served as a member of the Business Law, Women & Children and Juniors & Pupils Committees.


Other books by the author:

PERSPECTIVES: Not your conventional conversations (2022)

PERSPECTIVES: Law, Socio-Economic & Women’s Rights in Ghana (Vol. 2) (2023)


To order copies of Francisca’s books, please contact +233 50 798 0400 or info@elisusbtrust.com


For media inquiries, contact communications@africanwomeninlaw.com

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