Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda says judges have to acquaint themselves with the international competition law to ensure that their application of the same is based on knowledge.
Speaking at a two-day workshop organised by the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) through its Competition Commission in Mangochi last week, Nyirenda said enforcement of the competition law is a unique and complex area that combines legal and market principles.
He said: “It is important that, as judges, we have a deeper understanding of these international agreements to ensure that justice is served.
“The main thrust of the workshop is to look at the legal framework in the region and at how best we can share experiences regarding the use of the framework to best serve our societies.”
The workshop brought together Supreme and High Court judges from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Mauritius, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Officials from the Competition and Fair Trading Commission (CFTC) also attended the workshop.
Nyirenda noted that the national law lacks extraterritorial reach; hence, inadequate to address cross-border restrictive business practices.
He said the workshop came at an opportune time when there is growing debate on the enforcement of regional instruments at national level to enhance regional economic
“There is need to have an instrument that has extra territorial jurisdiction and is enforceable in all the member States to address conduct of such nature.
“We want to establish a common approach based on the Comesa treaty and global statutes that regulate competition and fair trading and come up with a system that ensures that principles that apply in our respective countries are the same,” said Nyirenda.
Comesa Competition Commission (CCC) board chairperson Matthews Chikankheni said judges need to understand the international competition law to ensure that they adjudicate the cases fairly.
“Judges have the responsibility to hear and determine cases fairly for both parties. CCC, as an enforcement agency, is trying to impart knowledge and understanding of the competition law,” he said.
One of the judges, Rachel Sikwese, said such refresher workshops create a platform for interaction with judges from other countries.—Mana