The role of the JTI is to promote effective judicial training for judges, magistrates and judicial staff. It is also strategically positioned to play a supporting role in the judicial reform effort that has become the order of the day in the globalisation era. Its vision is meant to galvanise it towards seeing itself in the next five years as organisation that can expand its horizon and realise its goals.
Historically, like the case in common law jurisdictions, judges in Ghana received no additional training on appointment to the Bench from the Bar. The Judicial Service Act of 1960 (and Judicial Service Regulations) provided for the establishment of a training school for registrars and allowed for the training of other judicial staff. The Act provided legislative backing for judicial education in Ghana which began in 1965 when the Judicial Service Training School (JSTS) was established and given the mandate of providing training and education for the staff of the Judicial Service of Ghana (JSG). By then training for judges was limited to ad hoc seminars and mentoring by senior judges for junior and newly-appointed judges. Training was extended in the mid-1970s for magistrates, and in the late 1980s to cover continuing education for judges.
In 1995, the JSTS was transformed into the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of Ghana (ICJEG) to reflect its new mandate of offering continual judicial education to judges and magistrates. In 2004, judicial education in Ghana underwent further transformation, marked by the renaming of the ICJEG as the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) and the appointment of a full-time Director. Since then the JTI has developed and delivered training programmes for new and current members of the Judicial Service with the broader objective of using education and training for developing the human resource needs of the Judicial Service of Ghana, for judicial reform and ensuring judicial efficiency in Ghana.
The JTI recognises the fact that individuals with prior experience and expertise at the Bar require additional training in order to make the transition to the Bench. In addition, the JTI acknowledges that social and technical norms in Ghana are constantly evolving, creating an ever-changing set of demands on the judiciary. Supplementary education and training programmes are needed to enable the judiciary to meet these demands and function efficiently and effectively in Ghanaian society.
In addition to fulfilling the above functions, the JTI envisions an additional, broader function for judicial education. It operates according to the principle that judicial education is essential to the effective administration of justice and the view that judicial education will play a primary role in judicial reform in Ghana. By recognising these essential functions of judicial education, the JTI structures its programmes and activities to meet both the professional needs of individual members of the judiciary and the judicial service and the capacity-building needs of the judiciary and the judicial service as a whole.
JTI programmes include orientation training sessions for new judges and magistrates, professional development programmes focusing on emerging issues and social contexts, and career training for court and administrative personnel.
In sum, the JTI has been engaged in two-fold activity:
a. Orientation/Induction Training - for newly-appointed or promoted judges and magistrates
b. Continuing Judicial Education - on the job training programmes meant to equip judges and magistrates to be abreast with the changing developments in law, society and the environment.