President Akufo Addo Nominates Justice Gertrude Torkornoo as Ghana's Next Chief Justice

Justice Torkornoo, who has been a member of the judiciary for nineteen years, currently serves on the Supreme Court, where she has played a pivotal role for the past four years

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 President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has recommended Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo to succeed Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, who is set to retire on May 24, 2023. A letter from the Presidency to the Chairperson of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Siriboe II, confirming the nomination, was sighted by Dennislaw News.

Justice Torkornoo, who has been a member of the judiciary for nineteen years, currently serves on the Supreme Court, where she has played a pivotal role for the past four years. With an extensive background in the legal profession, her nomination comes as a testament to her expertise and dedication to justice in the country.

The Council of State is expected to expedite action on Justice Torkornoo's nomination so that Parliament can “consider it as early as possible in the current session”. This swift process aligns with the President's commitment to ensuring a seamless transition of the Chief Justice position, maintaining stability and continuity within the country's legal system, the third of such in his role as President.

If confirmed by Parliament, Justice Torkornoo will become the 15th Chief Justice of Ghana, succeeding Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah, who has held the position since 2020. Her appointment would make her the third female Chief Justice in the country's history, following the groundbreaking tenure of Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, who served from 2007 to 2017, and the appointment of Sophia Akufo who served from 2017 to 2019.

In the coming weeks, the Council of State will review the President's nomination, followed by parliamentary deliberations and a vote. 


Justice Torkornoo was born on 11 September 1962 in Cape Coast and hails from Winneba in the Central Region of Ghana. Born to Abraham Kofi Sackey and Comfort Aba Sackey who were both teachers at the time, she is the second of five siblings. Her father retired as a Director of Education from Ghana Education Service. Her mother, however, set aside her teaching career to explore sewing, hairdressing, and selling and eventually settled as a baker.

As a growing child, Justice Torkornoo aspired to be a lawyer or an actress. She was motivated by her father who always told her that he admired women lawyers and had declared when she was born that she would be a lawyer and he ensured that it happened.

She had her secondary education at Wesley Girls’ High School in Cape Coast where she obtained her GCE Ordinary Level Certificate. She then attended Achimota School for the Advanced Level Certificate. She studied Law & Sociology for her first degree at the University of Ghana and completed the Professional course in law at the Ghana School of Law in 1986. She holds an LLM in Intellectual Property Law from Golden Gate University, San Francisco, USA, and a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) in International Law and Organizations from the then International Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, Netherlands.

After law school in 1986, Justice Gertrude Torkornoo did her national service with the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) Legal Aid Center in Accra. Her pupillage was with Fugar & Co, where she became an Associate and later, a Director of the firm. In 1989, while an Associate at Fugar & Co, she won an International Bar Association scholarship in Construction Law, which led to her doing a stage with Nabarro Nathanson in London, and specializing in Construction Law. In January 1997, she set up Sozo Law Consult and became the Managing Partner.

After 18 years of law practice, Justice Torkornoo was invited to join the judiciary in 2004 as a Justice of the High Court of Ghana. In October 2012, she was promoted to the Court of Appeal and rose to become a Justice of the Supreme Court, the apex court, in 2019.

She is well known for being one of the Supreme Court judges who presided over the 2020 presidential petition case between John Dramani Mahama and the Electoral Commission and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

She has also made significant contributions to legal knowledge through some of her non-judicial writings including ‘Creating Capital from Culture’; ‘An Uneasy Marriage – the Relationship between interest rate regimes and debt recovery rates in Ghana (2012), ‘Examining the Borrowers and Lenders Act’ (2015), and ‘The Law on Interests’ (2021).

Justice Torkornoo has held several leadership positions in the judiciary. They include the chair of the Editorial Committee of the Association of Magistrates and Judges, chief editor for developing the Judicial Ethics Training Manual, vice-chair of the E-Justice Steering/Oversight Committee, and vice-chair of the Internship and Clerkship Programme for the Judiciary. She is currently the chair of the E-Justice Steering/Oversight Committee. She is also a faculty member of the Judicial Training Institute and a member of the governing Board of the Judicial Training Institute. She is a regular speaker on different platforms addressing issues on law, leadership, and judicial ethics.

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