Top lawyer speaks on judges’ appointment

Top lawyer speaks on judges’ appointment

MASERU-FORMER president of Law Society of Lesotho, Advocate Tekane Maqakachane, says people are confusing two issues on the appointment of judges.
Advocate Maqakachane said it is important to distinguish between the autonomy of the Judicial Service Commission and the role of the executive in the appointment of judges.

“The JSC is autonomous on matters that deal with the appointment of judges,” Advocate Maqakachane said.
“There are certain rules that they have to follow that are within them as the commission.”

He said the independence of the JSC should not be read to mean that it can act without first consulting the Ministry of Law on other issues.
“These issues have to be separated and not mixed,” he said.
“The Chief Justice as the head of the judiciary can see that there is a shortage of judges but she cannot not wake up one day and decide to appoint judges”.

“Before the appointment of judges there are issues or matters for the executive to determine like the accommodation, salaries and security of the judges,” he said.
Advocate Maqakachane said the Chief Justice has to consult the executive on whether it can support the appointment of a certain judge from the budget.

“The role of JSC is not to determine the policy and resource issues of the justice system,” he said.
He said the while the JSC is a buffer between the executive and the judiciary it cannot make logistical decisions at variance with the government policy and budget.

The JSC, he said is independent, “to avoid any political issues hence independent bodies are involved to give directions.”
“The executive however has to know (about JSC decisions) so that it could be seen whether it has the capacity to support the appointment of a certain number of judges.”

Staff Reporter

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