Malawi: Judiciary Changes the Face of District Courts

3 December 2019

Improving the condition of district and satellite courts has been identified as one of the major factors that could improve the quality of justice delivery in the country.

This has been said by the Registrar of the High Court and the Malawi Supreme Court of Appeal, Agnes Patemba.

She said in an interview in the lead-up to the official opening ceremony for the recently rehabilitated Mulanje district court.

The Court has been rehabilitated as part the project in which the Malawi Judiciary was rehabilitating some district and satellite courts, in a bid to improve the quality of justice delivery in the country.

"Most of our district and satellite court are dilapidated and not habitable. In addition, court users walk long distances to access justice, which is contrary to our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan. This is why we decided to rehabilitate our district and satellite courts to improve the delivery of justice in the country," Patemba said.

The Registrar added that the judiciary was implementing a number of changes in district and satellite courts, which has necessitated the project.

"In addition to the dilapidated structures, we have engaged professional magistrates to man district courts, and to ensure that we keep them in the system, we need to provide them with decent office space. Again, most lawyers rarely work in districts because of the poor conditions of the structures which may compromise justice delivery," Patemba said.

She commended the European Union (EU) for funding the project, saying it was complimenting government's efforts in improving justice services delivery in the country.

Through the project, the Malawi judiciary has managed to rehabilitate court buildings in Mulanje, Mwanza, Nanyumbu in Machinga, Nkhotakota and Mchinji, while works have commenced for Balaka, Chitipa and three more others.

The official opening ceremony for the rehabilitated Mulanje District court will take place Wednesday, December 4, 2019.

The ceremony will be presided over by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Bright Msaka.

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