7 June 2018

Malawi: Supreme Court Act Under Review

The Special Law Commission has embarked on a process to review the Supreme Court Act to ensure it is in line with the country's Constitution and international best practices.

Special Law Commission Chairperson, Justice Edward Twea on Tuesday said since its enactment in January 1964, there have been inconsistencies, disparities and gaps, particularly between the Act and the Malawi Constitution necessitating a review.

He made the remarks in Blantyre during preliminary consultation with the Malawi Law Society on the review.

"The act predates the Constitution of Malawi in 1964. As such, there have been debates whether the Supreme Court of Appeal has jurisdiction other than the appellate jurisdiction.

"The propriety of appeals on decisions of the registrar leapfrog a judge of the High Court and various other issues that have been highlighted by the judgments of courts at various levels of authority," said Justice Twea.

He then expressed optimism that the meeting would provide input to enrich the substance of the review process.

"We believe the outcome of the review process which is expected to come up with a report by April next year, will be in line with the Constitution and that it will also reflect the wishes and aspiration of society," he said.

On her part, Law Commissioner, Getrude Lynn Hiwa, said the Act is one of the various pieces of legislation that constitute the framework for the practices of law in Malawi.

She said: "It is for this reason that there is need to create a platform where special law commission can interact with the society with the aim of identifying issues for consideration and reform under the review process."

The Special Law Commission is composed of members drawn from the judiciary, Ministry of Justice, Malawi Law Society, Faculty of Law and Civil Society.

Similar consultative meetings have been planned for Lilongwe and Mzuzu cities.

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