L.I. 2211, amends the Courts Act, 1993 (Act 459) in significant respects.
The civil jurisdiction of the Circuit Court under section 42(1)(a)(i) of Act 459 used to be limited to personal actions arising under contract or tort or for the recovery of any liquidated sum with value not exceeding GHC10,000.00. The afore-mentioned L.I. expands the Court’s jurisdiction in this respect to GHC50,000.00. That of the District Court provided for in section 47 of the said Act has also been expanded from GHC5,000.00 to GHC20,000.00. The District Court’s jurisdiction to admit land related disputes with values not exceeding GHC5,000.00 has also been expanded to GHC20,000.00 by this new amendment.
In matters relating to the grant of Probate and Letters of Administration, the amendment further expands the Jurisdiction of the Circuit Courts to admit applications in respect of estates whose values do not exceed GHC50,000.00. Hitherto, values in respect of such estate matters did not exceed GHC10,000.00. It is worth noting that the analogous jurisdiction of the District Court has also been expanded from GHC5,000.00 to GHC20,000
This new L.I. was passed on the 18th of December, 2014 and entered into force on the 5th of March, 2015.
It is expected that the pressure on some of the High Courts which seemed to have been as a result of the jurisdictional limitations of the lower courts will ease considerably; however, the readiness of the lower courts to effectively hear the wave of new cases which will seek to take advantage of this amendment will certainly remain in doubt.