Some disgruntled employees of the Judiciary have taken to court the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Commission, challenging their decisions to recruit new third grade magistrates from outside the civil service.
The 16 employees, who work as court clerks of different grades in the Judiciary nationwide, argue that what the head of the country’s Judiciary, Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda, and the commission did contravened the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulations.
Lawyer representing the workers, Chancy Gondwe, in an interview confirmed commencing legal proceedings against the Chief Justice and the commission for alleged flouting of the law and the settled practice they want to be judicially reviewed.
He said: “We are asking the court to have the manner and procedure which was adopted in the recommendation and appointment [of the new third grade magistrates] be review by the court.”
On Monday, the parties made their submissions before High Court judge Redson Kapindu in Zomba.
The sued party was represented by the Attorney General.
The court has since reserved its ruling to a later date to determine whether to grant leave for judicial review.
In court documents The Nation has seen, the workers argue that the decision by the commission to recommend the appointment of the new third grade magistrates contravened regulation 13 (1) (a) of the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulation.
Similarly, they argue that the Chief Justice’s decision not to appoint them when they possess suitable qualifications in terms of Regulation 13 of the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulations and Section 34 (b) of the Courts Act violated their legitimate expectations as provided for under Section 43 of the country’s Constitution.
In an interview on Sunday, Registrar of the High Court of Malawi and Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal Agnes Patemba confirmed that the 16 employees have taken to court the head of the courts seeking judicial review on the decision to employ people who are not current Judiciary employees.
The staff say they were assured by their chief human resource officer that upon obtaining their diplomas in law from University of Malawi, Chancellor College, they would be considered to be third grade magistrates as per Section 13 (1) (a) of the Malawi Public Service Commission Regulations, and Section 34 (b) of the Courts Act. n