NO ANNOUNCEMENT OF A VACANCY IN THE OFFICE OF CHIEF JUSTICE OR THE SWEARING IN OF A NEW CHIEF JUSTICE

Since the information spread that there was a vacancy in the Office of Chief Justice the media has been informed that Justice Fagbenle has been appointed Chief Justice. Since then Foroyaa has been monitoring whether he would be sworn as Chief Justice.

Section 138 subsection (4) makes it mandatory for a judge to take the prescribed oaths before assuming office. It reads:

“Before assuming the functions of his or her office, a judge of the superior courts shall take the prescribed oaths.”

On the other hand, in the absence of a substantive holder of the office of judge, section 140 states that,

“In the event of there being a vacancy in the office of the Chief Justice, or if he or she is, for any reason unable to perform the functions of his or her office, the President may appoint the most senior judge of the Supreme Court to act in that office –

(a)    until a person has been substantively appointed to, and assumed the functions of that office; or

(b)    until the Chief Justice has resumed the functions of his or her office, as the case may be.     

A vacancy in the office of Chief Justice shall be filled by a substantive appointment within six months.”

Is Justice Fagbenle a substantive holder of the office of Chief Justice or is he acting? As long as he is not sworn in the speculations would continue.