Shielding Members of Parliament Against Court Summons: Interrogating the Question of Parliamentary Immunity

Immunities, though part of the law of the land, are to a certain extent an exemption from the general
law. Certain rights and immunities such as freedom of speech belong primarily to individual members of parliament and exist because the House cannot perform its functions without unimpeded use of the services of its members. Ostensibly, the degree to which members of parliament are immune from legal inquiry may presumably accord them greater probability to abuse their mandate. In general, a court summons is the beginning of a legal case. It signals the issue that needs to be adjudicated. However, the introduction of immunity invalidates some tenets of modern democracy such as a court summons. The authors seek to examine some of the uncertainties and ambiguities that might have arisen out of the court decision in the case Republic v Mahama Ayariga with much consideration of other cases. The chapter provides a thorough picture of the systems of parliamentary immunity and recommends ways of curbing observed challenges with the practice.

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