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Need to Reinforce Our Judiciary

Need to Reinforce Our Judiciary

Our Judiciary is in dire need of more manpower to deal with the flood of cases some of which have spent years in our courts. The country is, obviously, suffering from a shortage of legally qualified people, possibly, due to the relatively high cost involved in studying law in our university.

Many major towns in Sierra Leone are yet to have resident magistrates though some have roving magistrates. This leads to the piling up of cases that cannot be adjudicated for years and, consequently, justice becomes delayed and denied.

The accumulation of long-standing cases and resultant delay in justice could be a reason why many people, who seem to have lost confidence in our judicial system, now resort to voodoo or violence as a means of seeking redress.

The shortage of magistrates could largely be attributed to the problem of unattractive conditions of service for magistrates, a situation that has been possibly repelling many sound lawyers from opting for magisterial positions but rather remain in private practice.

We need not remind government that the sustainability of our hard-won peace heavily depends on the independence and effectiveness of our judiciary. It is no secret that injustice was one of the main factors that sparked our decade-long notorious rebel savagery.

If we want to sustain our expensive peace, we need to pay more attention to our judiciary and equip it with more manpower and logistics to ensure a faster and fairer justice delivery system. Government must create the enabling environment for more lawyers to be trained in our university and must make more attractive the conditions of service for magistrates so that more lawyers will opt for the job.

Even at local level, our court chairmen must be put on more appreciable conditions of service and must also be given some amount of legal training to be able to fairly dispense justice at local level.

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