Malawi Law Society (MLS) and the Judiciary have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to revive and sustain the Malawi Legal Information Institute, a website where people can access court judgements and other legal information.
Speaking after signing the MoU at Ryalls Hotel in Blantyre on Thursday, MLS president John Suzi-Banda said the agreement has come at the right time when the public is taking an interest in court judgements.
“Currently, many people are able to access court judgements through online media and they quickly react to what has been reported. There is no room for them to verify and read a complete judgement and usually, their reactions are unfair and unbalanced. We are addressing this problem to ensure that everyone has access to court judgements and this will help the public to make fair reactions and decisions,” said Suzi-Banda.
He added that apart from the court judgements, the website will have the laws of Malawi, various legal publications, newsletters and activities in the Judiciary, Parliament and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. He said this will help Malawians understand the country’s legal framework and how some laws work.
Speaking on behalf of the Judiciary, assistant registrar responsible for law reporting Chikondi Mandala hailed MLS for coming up with the project, saying the relationship between the two is crucial.
She, however, asked the two parties to ensure the success of the project by keeping the website up and running.
“MLS has been committed to the revival of the website and we want this commitment to continue. The website should be running and should benefit many generations to come,” said Mandala.
MLS vice-president Mwiza Nkhata, who is also associate professor of law at University of Malawi’s Chancellor College, said the website failed due to lack of a working relationship between MLS, the Judiciary and Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.
“This MoU revives the commitment of the key players. The website is for Malawians and we want every Malawian to have access to legal information online. Our consultant, African Legal Information Institute of South Africa, has been in the country and has trained Judiciary staff on how they can edit and upload the judgements on the website. Shortly, it will be up and running,” said Nkhata.
The initiative comes barely a month after the Judiciary started filing cases electronically as part of its steps to achieve automated system of case management.