HH Georgina Mensah-Datsa
Gender-Based Violence Court - Accra
Jurisdiction is conferred by law
The civil jurisdiction of District Courts is provided
in Sections 47 of the Courts Act 1993 (Act 459)
as amended by Act 620.
The civil jurisdiction includes all personal actions
arising under contract or tort for the recovery of
any liquidated sum where the amount claimed
does not exceed ¢50 million (GH¢5000) in
matters relating to landlord and tenants of any
premises, actions relating to ownership,
possession or occupation of land where the value
of the land does not exceed ¢50 million (GH¢
Monetary - GH¢ 5000. (¢50 million)
Geographical area/ Place
LI 1574 Area of the District Court is limited to
the District in which it is situated. Section
51(4) of Act 459 provides that no act done
shall be void merely because it originated
from a District not within jurisdiction.
Subject Matter
Law e.g. Limitation Act
Section 47(3) of Courts Act - where in any
action, cause or matter the amount claimed
or the value of any land or property exceeds
the amount or value specified in subsection
(1), the District Court shall notwithstanding
that sub section, proceed to hear the case if
the parties agree that it should do so.
Section 51(a) of Courts Act objection raised
to jurisdiction of the court should be before
Plaintiff calls his first witness
Section 6 of Rent Act 1963 (Act 220)
Magistrate should not just enforce the decree
referred to him as it is only a
recommendation. Magistrate has a duty to
investigate it. Do not adopt the order as
evidence. One has to be satisfied that Section
17 of Act 220 on recovery of possession and
ejectment has been applied
The District Court has a special division
where it serves as a Family Tribunal to hear
and determine actions that arise under the
Children’s Act of 1998 (Act 560). Act 560
gives the Family Tribunal the legal mandate
to adjudicate matters of parentage, custody,
access and maintenance of children.
The Family Tribunal also has jurisdiction in
cases concerning children in need of special
care and protection, and deciding on care and
supervision orders. By Section 65 of Act 560
the court can deal with an application for
adoption. Section 37 of Act 560 provides that
the proceedings at a Family Tribunal shall be
as informal as possible and shall be by
enquiry and not by adversarial procedure.
Magistrates should take advantage of the
summary nature of trials to be Proactive.
This power is provided by Order 29 of the
District Court Rules, 2009, C.I 59.
Circumstances for Review
Read Order 29 of C.I 59 in conjunction with
Ord. 42 of High Court Rules (C.I 47)
New and Important matter,
A matter of evidence, Applicant must show
that information came to him after the trial
after due diligence.
Mistake of fact apparent on face of record.
No need to take further evidence e.g. where
the Magistrate records the Plaintiffs evidence
as that of Defendant. Ekuban v. Ekuban
(1965) GLR 599
Error of Law.
Where there is misapplication or
misapprehension of Law – refuse review, the
case should go on Appeal. Ampofo v. BrongAhafo case
Where a Magistrate gives judgment on
Monday and on Tuesday the Supreme Court
overrules cases used by the Magistrate for
decision on Monday, the Magistrate has to
review after judgment.
Order 69 rule 2(1) application for review must
be made not later than 14 days
Where all parties were not present then the
14 days will be counted from date party is
aware of the judgment.
The court should not review the case without
the parties. The parties should be present.
The court does not have power on its own to
Review a case.
Nortey & ano v. Damatey (1974) 1 GLR 31
Micah v. Bruce (1971) 1 GLR 153
Darbah v. Ampah (1989-90) 2 GLR 103
Ampofo v. Brong-Ahafo Corp. (1961) GLR 62
In the last case above where the court is
mislead, court has power to review and court
exercised its power of review. Sometimes
application for Review is a guise to try the
case, do not review see case 3 above.
The court has no say with respect to Consent
Judgment. The court has to record the terms
of settlement as a Judgment. A Magistrate has
no power to review this.
Previously Review must be made by the same
panel/ Magistrate/ Judge now does not have
to be. Order 42 r.4 of C.I 47
Executions – Order 21
Writ of fieri facias
Writ of delivery
Writ of possession
Garnishee proceedings.
A charging order
The appointment of a receiver
Procedure for commencement of civil action
Procedure is informal.
It starts with a Writ of summons Order 2 r.
Writ should conform to Order 2 r.3 of C.I. 59.
Judgment should not exceed claim- Order 3
r. 2(1).
Undefended Suits- Order 8 – Specially endorsed
writ for debt or liquidated amount. Money claim
or for liquidated amount and supported by an
Affidavit stating that the defendant has no
The proceeding established by that order is a
peculiar proceeding, intended only to apply to
cases where there can be no reasonable doubt
that a plaintiff is entitled to judgment, and,
where therefore it is inexpedient to allow a
defendant to defend for mere purposes of delay.
Fofie v. Pomaa and others (1974) 2 GLR 6,
Liquidated amount is a specific amount or
ascertainable amount. There is no need to
lead evidence to establish the claim.
Adunna and others v. Mfum (1971) 1 GLR 89,
debt or liquidated demand – mere mention of
figure is not enough – if evidence has to be
lead it is not a liquidated demand
Where case is placed on undefended suit the
defendant has 5 days within which to Swear
an Affidavit stating that he has a good
defence . Then the defendant should be
permitted to defend the action. The case is
then placed on the General List.
General List the return date is 5 days
excluding weekends and public holidays.
Bramsco Food Marketing and Supply co. v.
Mohamadu (1973) 2 GLR 4.
Statement by parties as basis of their claim.
Pleadings are not mandatory. They are made
on an Order of the court in complex cases to
clarify the case or narrow down the issues.
Pleadings show the areas of agreement where
no evidence is needed and areas of conflict
where evidence has to be led. Note
sometimes pleadings are used to delay the
hearing of the case.
Issues are the areas of disagreement.
At the District Court there is no Application for
Directions. It is the Magistrate who sets down the
General List- Where the defendant does not appear,
hear the plaintiff and decide the case.
Undefended Suits - Order 8 When the defendant has
been served but does not appear within the Return
date, give Summary Judgment for the plaintiff.
In Kuma v. Ankuma (1972) 2 GLR an application to
set aside judgment on the sole ground that judgment
was outside the geographical jurisdiction was refused
Venue of Proceedings- Order 5 r. 1
Transfer- Order 5 r. 2
Costs – Order 7
Cost in cause of trial.
Cost at the end/ after judgment. Costs are
awarded to the successful party. Amount
should reflect the efforts made in the case.
Where no costs are awarded give reasons e.g.
family members.
Matrimonial Applications- Order 32
District Court can deal with:
Custody of children and
Other matrimonial causes
Locus in quo – the essential condition is that
there is a material issue which could not be
resolved otherwise than by visual inspection.
Interlocutory matters – Order 13, any matter
occurring in the course of proceedings in which a
magistrate is called upon to make a ruling which
does not determine the matter. An interlocutory
proceeding is taken during the course of an
action and incidental to the principal object of
the action. It consists of all steps taken in
assisting either party before judgment. Examples
include amendment, joinder, injunctions,
absconding warrant,

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