FREEDOM AND JUSTICE: These twin concepts encapsulate the Ghanaian Dream which is the overarching national manifesto in aid of a project to transform the Ghanaian political State into a free and just society. The object of the transformation is to secure social order through the institution of social justice which, when fueled or energised by patriotism and charity, creates the enabling environment for security and development.
Political philosophy, in the context of the DPSP, attempts to answer the question as to what the best society for the people of Ghana is. The framers of the Constitution, 1992 answered the question through the provision of the DPSP. For their part, in interpreting and applying the DPSP, the Judiciary must perpetually answer the political philosophical question whether they are in the business of helping to realise a free and just society.
The society envisaged is the subjective meaning of the political state, the subjective meaning of the relation between the citizen and the political state, and the subjective meaning of freedom and justice as perceived by the citizens of the State. The society is ideational; it has the potential to be attitudinal. In a sense, the State can be visualised as the physical edifice of a symbolic society. The nature of the subjective meaning as perceived by the citizens in the form of a virtual society determines the health of the political state; and one of the main purposes of the DPSP is to control and determine the nature of the virtual society.
The author’s three approaches to the DPSP depend on the question that the interpreter poses and seeks to answer. The theoretical approach involves freewheeling and fundamental questions that are unrestricted by any enactment or fact situation; the legal approach poses a question that is tethered to an enactment and is, in that regard, restricted by the meaning and context of the relevant enactment; and, the strategic approach deals with society-dependent questions involving a particular fact situation (an event) and an enactment.
The author suggests that the term enforceability be reserved for the fact that the principle is binding and worthy or deserving of a judicial declaration; that the possibility of molding orders following the declaration is a question of justiciability; and that the term justiciability should be reserved for non-enforcement on account of prudence in the design of orders.
The ‘Rights in Action: Trends, Challenges and Lessons’ examines Supreme Court decisions on rights and freedoms. In the process, attention is drawn to judicial trends, challenges and lessons from jurisdictions such as Ireland, Britain, India, United States of America, Canada and South Africa. Also discussed are issues involving, for example, the repeal of the offence of causing fear and alarm, bail policy, fair trial, full disclosure of the prosecution’s case, scope of freedom of expression and information, spousal rights, political attitude to the vulnerable in society, limits of rights adjudication (polycentricism), doctrine of political questions, reasonableness, proportionality, the Common Law method, nature and scope of rights, freedom and directive principles of social/state policy