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The Social Inquiry Report (SER)

The administrative practice has now been put on a statutory footing.[1] The Act requires that in every case, a social inquiry report (SER) be prepared for each juvenile, in a manner that observes the rules of natural justice, to assist the court to know the background of the juvenile and to determine what factors have influenced the juvenile’s behavior.[2] This standard of compliance with the rules of natural justice in the preparation of SER[3] was originally set down in judicial guidelines handed down by the high court in Donkor v. The Republic.[4] In that case, a parent who was incensed by the imposition of a fine upon him by a juvenile court challenged the findings. The fine was imposed as a consequence of the findings presented in a SER that blamed him for laxity in his supervision of his son. The court held that the parent was right to complain because he did not have had an opportunity to challenge the findings of the social worker and he had no way of knowing and commenting on whatever evidence had been found against him. The guidelines given by the court have now been incorporated into the Act.

  • [1] Section 24
  • [2] D.E.J. MacNamara, in Juvenile Offenders (supra) foreword, page X; Francis Allan, “The JuvenileCourt and the limits of Juvenile Justice” in Juvenile Delinquency op. cit. (supra), p414. This was aquotation adapted from Judge Mack’s article: “The Juvenile Court” 23 Harvard Law Review(1909).
  • [3] Act 653, Section 24
  • [4] [1977] GLR 373, per Osei-Hwere J (as he then was)
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