Emmanuel Yonny Kulendi is a Ghanaian Supreme Court Justice whose name is well-known in the country’s legal system. Despite coming from a poor village in the Upper West Region with limited educational opportunities, he has built a successful legal career.
Kulendi attended Ndama Primary School before moving on to Wa Secondary School. During his fifth year, he spent nearly two years in Wa prisons on remand, which strengthened his resolve to become a lawyer. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws degree in 1992 from the University of Ghana, and later obtained a license to practice as a barrister-at-law from the Ghana School of Law in 1994.
Kulendi’s areas of legal expertise include investments, securities, commercial law, criminal law, and litigation. He served as an examiner at the Ghana School of Law and was the managing partner of his law firm, Kulendi @ Law, before being appointed to the bench.
On May 26, 2020, Kulendi was sworn in as a Supreme Court Justice by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, making him the first Ghanaian from the Upper West Region to serve on the country’s highest court.
In October 2021, Kulendi spoke out against the imposition of harsh remand conditions on accused persons, emphasizing that remand should not be viewed as a form of punishment. He argued that bail conditions, such as requiring civil servants as sureties, made justice delivery unfair and difficult in the country.
Kulendi was once considered a top contender for the position of Chief Justice of Ghana following the retirement of Chief Justice Anim Yeboah. However, on April 25, 2023, President Akufo-Addo named Justice Gertrude Araba Esaaba Torkornoo as the new Chief Justice, bypassing Kulendi.
Kulendi is married and has four children.