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Feb. 7, 2022

OWN CORRESPONDENT

2 min read

JSC brings hope to judiciary

JSC brings hope to judiciary

The High Court of Lesotho

Story highlights

  • A total of 21 applications of candidates for eight positions of judges were received
  • The names that appear on the shortlist include those of prominent magistrates, the ombudsman and senior lawyers

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IN a bid to end the backlog of cases in the High Court and to ensure a prompt delivery of justice, the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), a constitutional structure responsible for the appointment, conduct and removal of judicial officers will soon confirm eight jurists on the bench.

A circular notice that was released recently by the commission shows that 21 applications of candidates for the eight positions were received.

The notice says the JSC in its 219th meeting held on February 3 considered the applications and nominations, as a result, published the names of the 18 candidates who had met the shortlisting criteria published under the JSC Circular of December 6, 2021.
The names that appear on the shortlist include those of prominent magistrates, the ombudsman and senior lawyers who want to make it to the bench.
The current method of appointment of judges in which advertisements are made public started last year following controversies and legal battles surrounding the appointment of the judges of the High Court which was previously made in secret. The method is intended to ensure accountability as well as transparency.
Following the same process last year, two new judges of the High Court, ’Malebona Khabo and Realeboha Mathaba were appointed and sworn to the bench on October 13, 2021.

Although the appointment was made under challenging times when the judiciary, particularly the High Court was low in funds, as it was then reported, and could not fill seven positions which were vacant at that time, it was welcomed as a start in the right direction.

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“The High Court is the second highest court in Lesotho after the Court of Appeal. But, the High Court is more important as it is the highest court with unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings and the power to review the decisions or proceedings of any subordinate court or tribunal,” this is according to Professor Hoolo 'Nyane, Head of Department of Public and Environmental Law at the University of Limpopo in South Africa, in his article published on May 9, 2021.
“The Constitution provides that the High Court shall comprise the Chief Justice and any number of judges as the Act of Parliament may determine. Judges are appointed by the King on the advice of the JSC,” he adds. LeNA

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