Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Juridical Science (SJD)

Award/Publication Date



Professor Paolo Galizzi

Committee Members

Professor Tracy Higgins; Professor Jeanmarie Fenrich


Law and morality have always been uneasy bedfellows; for whose morality should the law protect and enforce? Is there a collective form or sense of morality that societies accept and agree to be bound by at any particular point in time? If so, how is this done? What does morality even mean? And should the law concern itself with enforcing religious and/or cultural moral codes in the modern secular State? These and other questions have been at the heart of philosophical and jurisprudential debates concerning the intersection between law and morality and its impact on public policy from time immemorial. This dissertation is therefore an attempt to revisit and review the concept of morality from the perspective of law and public policy in a modern African State. The main focus of the dissertation is to examine and evaluate the moral content and underpinnings of the offence of sex work in Ghana, and propose a new neutral form of “morality” that is more rational, devoid of stigma and is incapable of being used as justification for criminalization of the conduct of persons who are the subject matter of the offence in question. Ultimately, the dissertation proposes a new approach to dealing with criminal offences that involve the balancing of individual autonomy of action and the legitimate State interest in regulating the scope and extent of such conduct or actions, since the old approach has not only failed, but has also led to the proliferation of sex work in Ghana over the years.