THE Chief Justice (CJ), Prof Ibrahim Juma, yesterday reminded the Court of Appeal Justices of their role in dispensing justice according to the law, stressing that an independent judiciary is crucial for maintenance of rule of law and sustainable economic development.
In his talking notes to officiate a two day training and experience sharing session being held in Dar es Salaam, the CJ told the justices that under Article 107A(1) of the Constitution, the Judiciary shall be the authority with final decision in dispensation of justice in the United Republic of Tanzania.
Prof Juma was however quick to point out that in justice delivering system, the Constitution of the United Republic of Tanzania has placed the Court of Appeal, being the highest temple of justice, at the top, as being the one which makes final decisions.
Therefore, he said, "Training and evaluation meetings are very important to help us as justices to make the final decision based on the law, focus on the basic principles of justice and build the trust of our people with faith in the justice system."
The head of the judiciary pointed out that in dispensing justices, the power of the Court of Appeal at the apex is not confined to what statutes; Rules and Regulations provide. "We are a final Court of Justice.
We dispense justice even to those areas that are not covered by Statutes," he told the session. Quoting a keynote given by Judge Iain Bonomy of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia during the Conference of Judges and magistrates of the Commonwealth held in Tanzania in September 2017, on speed and great expectations in the 21st Century, the CJ said: "...Judges have to be sensitive to the pace of change in our 21st Century society, and the level of public expectation that contentious business should be resolved fairly quickly.
It is the responsibility of judges constantly to be alert to devising ways of expediting proceedings without compromising them.
"The public see that as a judicial responsibility because they perceive judges to be in a position of authority over court proceedings independent of outside control.
They are accountable for the quality of their administration of justice." Prof Juma also reminded the justices on the importance of culture and attitude to the success of justices.
According to him, the late Justice J.K. Mathur, who served in the High Court of Calcutta in India had a deep interest in all aspects of the law, especially methodology of judicial training.
In a paper titled: "Judicial Training: Some Inceptive Considerations," the Indian Judge pointed out three main items in the training of judicial officers: knowledge, skills and attitude.
These, he said, are the three main components of expertise needed for performance of judges and Justices of Appeal. He expressed his regret that most continuous education programmes for judges overly concentrate on knowledge and skills, but not on attitude.
"Positive attitude can do wonders: - It can make possible what is seemingly impossible for the others," the CJ quoted the Indian Judge as saying.
Prof Juma further quoted him as saying that positive attitude is the seed out of which positive traits, which are essential for success sprout forth.
"It is the positive attitude again which waters and feeds the sapling of positive traits. .... Most of our attitude is shaped during our formative years. There are primarily three factors that determine our attitude -Environment, Experience, and Education.