Malawi Law Society (MLS) has said it hopes President Peter Mutharika will sign soon the Amendment to the Courts Act which allows the Chief Justice to promagate Civil Procedures Rules in the High Court, saying the Act will improve justice delivery.
Speaking at the opening of a day-long workshop on courts rules in Blantyre yesterday, MLS president John Suzi-Banda said the current civil procedure law does not serve the interests of Malawians.
Recently, Parliament passed the amendment to the Courts Act which allows the Chief Justice to promagate rules of the civil procedure law in the high court, but its implementation awaits Mutharika’s signature.
Said Suzi-Banda: “We have been using the civil procedure rules that are used in England and Wales and were developed in 1965. The challenge is that these countries have since reformed the rules over the years, which are meant to modernise the civil procedure litigation. It should also be noted that the civil procedure rules in these countries are designed for their societies and have little relevance, as you would appreciate, in Malawi.”
He explained that it is important that Malawi adopts the amended Court Act, saying different key players in the legal system did a great job on the document.
“The amended Act, if adopted, will offer easier access to justice, cheaper litigation process and make the Judiciary more accountable in terms of delivery of judgment and rulings by judges and registrars of the High Court,” stated Suzi-Banda.
Supreme Court of Appeal judge Frank Kapanda said the Act addresses the issue of delayed justice, which has become a norm in the country.
“Unlike in the past when courts would sit on a judgement for long periods, the amended Act says if a judge finishes hearing a case, he/she would be required, at whatever level, to render a decision within 90 days.
“We believe people will get their justice in time, and secondly, gone will be the days when courts would be sitting down and say ‘I will deliver my decision when it pleases me’. The rules will be saying ‘no more sitting back’,” he said.
The meeting attracted lawyers and other participants from the Judiciary to introduce them to the amendments.