Ghana’s system of governance is based on a multiparty constitutional democracy founded on elections by open and free universal adult suffrage. All Ghanaians above 18 years of age are eligible to vote into office an Executive President for a maximum of two four-year terms.
A 230-member Parliament is also elected for unlimited four-year terms. The main arms of Government are the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary each of which is independent of the other. Ghana is a nation governed by the Rule of Law.
There exists by constitutional provision a Council of State that advises the President. Council membership is by both election and appointment. The President or the Vice President chairs meetings of the Cabinet. Also by constitutional provision, a majority of Cabinet Members must be appointed from among Members of Parliament.
By constitutional provision, in the absence of the President, the Vice President acts in his stead and in the absence of both the President and the Vice President, the Speaker of the House of Parliament takes over the mantle of State.
The current Parliament is the Third Parliament of the Fourth Republic of Ghana which came into being in 1992. Parliament is presided over by a Speaker elected by Parliament. The Speaker is assisted in the discharge of his duties by a First Deputy Speaker and a Second Deputy Speaker, who are both members of the House, but not from the ruling party.
Civil law in Ghana is based on the English Common Law doctrines of equity and general statutes. Ghanaian customary law is however the basis of most personal, domestic and contractual relationships. Criminal law is based on the 1960 Criminal Procedure Code, derived from amended English Criminal Law.
The Superior Court of Judicature comprises the Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, High Court, Regional Tribunals and Inferior Courts, which include Circuit Courts, Circuit Tribunals, Community Tribunals and such other Courts as may be designated by law.
To speed up trials, automation has been introduced in High Courts and such courts are commonly referred to as Fast Track Courts. The Supreme Court is made up of the Chief Justice and no fewer than nine other justices. It is the final court of appeal in Ghana and has jurisdiction in matters relating to enforcement and interpretation of the Constitution.