About The Ministry
The Attorney General’s Department came into being in 1877. It first started as the office of the Judicial Assessor, who was the Principal Legal Advisor to the Executive Council established in 1850 for the administration of the Gold Coast Colony. Then with the promulgation of the first Supreme Court Ordinance in 1876, which provided the framework for the administration of justice in the Colony; the office of the Judicial Assessor was abolished and replaced with the Queen’s Advocate Office.
In 1950, the Queen’s Advocate Office was also abolished and replaced with the Attorney-General. The title of the ‘Attorney-General’ continued to be used. The head of the department was the ‘Attorney-General’. The title of the Attorney-General continued to be used until 1951 when it was changed to the “Legal Secretary of Justice”.
In 1950, the Lidbury Commission was set up to review the Civil Service and make recommendations. It recommended the establishment of ministries based on the British Home Office. Among the ministries was ‘Justice’ under which there was the Attorney-General’s Department. When the first all-African Cabinet was founded in 1954, a “Minister of Justice” was appointed to replace the Legal Secretary of Justice.
With the promulgation of the 1957 Constitution, the Attorney-General had responsibility only for initiation of civil proceedings by or against the state and for prosecutions in criminal matters, while the Minister became responsible for Cabinet and Parliamentary business.
The 1960 Constitution however made the Attorney-General a member of both the Legislature and Cabinet with a Ministerial responsibility for the Sector, the initiation and conduct of civil prosecutions in Criminal offences on behalf of the state, traditionally in the legal sphere.
The Ministry of Justice is responsible for legal matters in relation to the exercise of executive power of the State and also legislative drafting in relation to legislative power of the State. Indeed, Article 88(5) of the constitution provides that “the Attorney-General shall be responsible for the institution of all civil cases on behalf of the State; and all civil proceedings against the State shall be instituted against the Attorney-General as Defendant.
An efficient and accessible system of justice exhibiting highest standards of professionalism and engendering a high degree of public trust and confidence
The Ministry of Justice, headed by the Attorney-General, exists to entrench at the core of the body politic an abiding respect for the rule of law and a constant observance of human rights, equality of access of justice and equality of treatment before the law for all citizens, to promote by law social justice, to facilitate the operations of a fair, efficient and transparent legal system, and to propagate a culture of due process and legality. For these purposes, the Minister acts as the defender of the constitutional order, the guarantor of the rights and liberties of the citizen, the protector of the state’s legal interests, the enforcer of the criminal laws, the developer of the human resources of the Legal sector and the champion of the law.
In helping to create and sustain a reputable legal system, the Minister contributes not only to fostering good governance and social peace, but also to strengthen the investment prospect of the national economy.
The ministry, like other agencies of the State, is thus fully engaged in the fight against poverty. The highest standards of professionalism in its dealings and transparency in its conduct constitute the bedrock of the Ministry in carrying out its statutory responsibilities.
To provide quality advice and legal services to the Government and the people of Ghana.
a. To increase the capacity of the legal system to enhance speedy and affordable access to justice for all
b. To review the 1992 Constitution and conflicting Acts of Parliament towards amendment where necessary
c. To promote Transparency and Accountability and reduce opportunities for rent seeking
d. Effective public awareness creation on laws for the protection of the vulnerable and excluded
e. To improve database for policy formulation, analysis and decision making
f. To develop and retain Human Resources at National, Regional and District levels
- Maintaining High Standards of Excellence
- No tolerance for corruption
- Respect for due process
- Team work