The Republic of Ghana is a constitutional democracy, whose constitution was approved in 1992. Its legal system is based on English common and customary law. The President is both the head of state and the government. The cabinet consists of the president, the vice-president and 10-19 ministers (The Council of Ministers) who are nominated by the president and approved by parliament. A unicameral 275-seat Parliament elected for four-year terms serves as the legislature and carries out all primary legislative functions – passing bills that require the assent of the president, before becoming law. Ghana’s last general election was held in December 2016 to elect a president and members of parliament in 275 electoral constituencies; the next elections should take place in 2020.
All bills presented to Parliament include an “explanatory memorandum” that sets out the “policy and principles of the bill, the defects of the existing law, the remedies proposed to deal with those, and the necessity for its introduction”. If the cabinet then approves the memorandum, the sector ministry is informed. If the legislation was initiated by a different ministry, that ministry is notified of the decision. The chief director of the ministry concerned produces a set of drafting instructions for the attorney general. The Parliamentary Counsel (Legislative Drafters) will then begin drafting the legislation using the Cabinet Memorandum and drafting instructions in conjunction with the attorney general, who uses consultations to obtain additional information and analysis prior to producing the final draft. This draft is then sent to the sector ministry for revision and approval, before being sent to the cabinet for review. If the cabinet assents, it is sent to the president for approval before becoming law. Legislation passed by the Parliament are labelled “Acts”.