The Statute Law Revision Commissioner, Justice V. C. R. A. C. Crabbe, has advised judges and legal practitioners that in looking at the practical side of the law, it is important for them to also look at the spirit of the law.
The book, authored by Dr Atudiwe P. Atupare, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ghana, seeks to develop a theory of constitutional interpretation based upon a conception of law that allows the existing Constitutions of Ghana and Nigeria to be construed as law in a manner that best serves the collective well-being of the people.
Contents of book
Recommended to judges, lawyers, law teachers, law students and policy makers as a must-read, the book addresses the pertinent question of the justifiability of socio-economic rights in Africa.
It is captured in seven chapters and deals with topics such as “The Constitutional Setting for Human Rights in Ghana and Nigeria”, “The Constitution as a Fundamental Law for the Collective Good”, “Theories of Rights and the Legitimacy of Judicial Review” and “Independent Courts and Judicial Application of Fundamental Law Theories in Ghana and Nigeria”.
Other topics are, “General Approaches to Constitutional Interpretation in Ghana and Nigeria”, “Fundamental Law, Human Rights and the Directive Principles Jurisprudence in Ghana and Nigeria” and “Consolidating an Integrated Rights Approach: Socio-Economic Constitutional Justice in Ghana and Nigeria”.
Appraisal of book
Mr Justice Crabbe, who launched the book, lauded the author for his scholarship, saying Dr Atupare followed the footsteps of legal scholars such as John Mensah-Sarbah, J. B. Danquah and Prof. Justice Samuel Date-Bah in looking at how far the practice of law should be construed in its objective sense.
He urged members of the legal fraternity to acquire a copy of the book and avoid making photocopies of it.
Reviewing the book, Prof. Justice Date-Bah, who is a retired Supreme Court Judge, described it as very good, controversial, intellectually stimulating and makes fascinating reading.
He recommended it to all and sundry in the legal fraternity.
Dr Atupare said he was motivated to write the book because “there is a failure in Africa, if not silence, for judges to indicate which schools of thought they belong to when it comes to the question of ‘what is law?’”.
“If judges are unable to tell us which school of thought they belong to in respect of this jurisprudential part, then we are open to speculation that the party that appoints the judge is important, and anytime he is sitting and that party comes before him, he will do its bidding,” he said.
Dr Atupare said he attempted, in his book, to dispel that notion by stimulating a much focused discussion on the issue.
“I thought that it is important for researchers in advanced institutions such as the universities to help these institutions and personalities whose job it is to deal with these key questions,” he remarked.
The first copy of the book was auctioned for GH¢5000, and purchased by the Director of MountCrest University College, Mr Kwaku Ansa-Asare, while the Deputy Minister of Education (Tertiary), Mr Samuel Okudjeto Ablakwa, grabbed the second copy for GH¢4000.