Gambia’s Justice Minister has announced government’s intention to address the root causes of an expensive legal system.
According to Abubakar Tambadou, access to justice is a shared responsibility between the Ministry of Justice and the Judiciary, which is separate arm of State.
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Minister Tambadou made the remarks while answering a question on why access to justice is expensive, during the state TV’s FACE THE NATION programme at Ebunjang Theatre on Tuesday. He was flanked by the Solicitor General Cherno Marenah.
The interactive live program organized by the state broadcaster GRTS, was a forum to discuss pertinent issues relating to the strategic approach, projects and development of the Ministry. It was also an opportunity for the audience to ask pertinent questions & seek clarifications on matters of public importance.
On the agenda was Constitutional Reforms, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, corruption within the justice system, backlog of cases among others.
According to him, access to justice is not only issue of affordability but also issue of accessing the forums in which Justice is delivered. It is government’s intention to further decentralize superior courts by establishing newer high courts in the regions.
“Important to ensure that conditions of service of justice sector workers are such that they are virtually Incorruptible” he said.
Tambadou said in as much as they work towards improving conditions of service, there is need for national service/sacrifice.
For his part, Cherno Marenah the Solicitor General said in a liberal and democratic society, lawyers are at liberty to charge fees but also have moral responsibility to charge reasonably.
“The more lawyers we have, the less the fees charged due to increased in competition” SG Marenah said.
Responding to a question from the crowd on the cost of legal education as contributing factor to high cost of judgment, SG Marenah said they did not have control Over the University of The Gambia.
“Therefore, we cannot influence cost of education but the situation is different at Law School where we have control and cost of education is relatively low as compared to other Jurisdictions” he concluded.