Malawi Standard (Blantyre)

22 January 2003

Malawi: Profile of Retired Chief Justice Richard Banda


Blantyre — The Honourable Justice Richard Banda, SC, has retired having served as Malawi's first black Chief Justice and in various portfolios since he joined the Judicial Bar since 1966. He retired last month.

The former Chief Justice is Barrister-at-Law, having been called to the Bar by the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn London in July 1966.

After his call to the Bar in 1966, he entered the Malawi Government Legal Service where he served in different capacities, including those of legal aid advocate, state advocate, traditional courts commissioner and Senior State Magistrate.

In February 1970, he was appointed Director of Public Prosecutions and acted as Solicitor General.

Honourable Richard Banda's hard work and dedication earned him another higher post in April 1972. He was appointed Attorney General, and later in the same year, was created senior counsel. He was the first Malawian to be honoured after independence.

He served in this capacity for two years, until 1974, when he was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General. He was also responsible for the portfolio of Local Government. He served in these capacities until February 1976, when he left Government.

Honourable Banda stayed out of practice for four years until April 1980, when he was re-appointed into the Judicial Service to fill the new office of Chief Resident Magistrate, which had been created. He served in this position for nine months, until November 1980.

He was later appointed Judge of the High Court and Supreme Court of Malawi until February 1992 when he was appointed Chief Justice of Malawi.

He is currently the president of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, having been elected at the Triennial Conference of the Association at Edinburgh, Scotland in 2000.

Justice Banda is an Honorary Life Fellow of the Society of Advanced Legal Studies, a constituent organisation of the University of London. He is also an Honorary Master of the Bench of the Honourable Society of Gray's Inn.

Justice Banda is also chairman of the Judicial Commission of the Association of National Olympic Committee of Africa (ANOCA). He has recently been invited to serve on a Committee of Eminent African Lawyers, which is looking at the statute to establish the African Court of Justice for the African Union.

Justice Banda has been a sportsman in the past. He played football and captained the national team. He was also an athlete, having represented Malawi in high jump.

Justice Banda is former president of the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) and he is the current president of the Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association of Malawi.

He enjoys watching sports and plays golf.

Born in November 1937, he is married to Joyce, an accomplished entrepreneur and social activist. They have six children. She was former chairperson of the National Association of Business Women (NABW). She is founder of the Joyce Banda Foundation.

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