Almost one hundred of the nation’s judges say they support any government initiative to improve the efficiency of the courts.
However, the Justices insist this can’t be done at the cost of Judicial Independence. The judges made the statement in a 20-point declaration yesterday afternoon after an administrative meeting.
At that historic meeting, the judges discussed what they are describing as another instance of interference by the Legislative and Executive branches of government in the independence of the Judiciary.
The 97 Justices in their declaration state they welcome the focus of the Prime Minister on the administration of justice and acknowledge the concerns he raised about inefficiencies, deficiencies and delays in the justice system.
The judges accept and share the view that much more needs to be done to achieve timely justice outcomes. They say the judiciary is committed to the attainment of a more efficient and effective justice system.
The justices say they accept that, although the judicial branch of government is independent and should remain so, it is also accountable to the public.
It’s therefore supporting any system geared towards enhancing judicial efficiency and accountability in the pursuit of timely justice outcomes.
However, the justices argue that judicial efficiency and accountability, cannot be achieved at the expense of judicial independence and the rule of law.
They say any mechanism employed to achieve efficiency and accountability must be consistent with the principles of separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary.
The justices say they fear, in light of recent developments, some have lost sight of the crucial need to ensure that the three arms of Government function together in a way that is complementary of each other and consistent with the spirit of the Constitution.
The Judges say they recognize the desirability of continued modernization in the judicial system including possible changes in the way Judges are assigned.
However, the judges say this is in a context where inadequate investment in the justice sector has been a feature of successive Governments since independence.