Magistrates Commission concerned with cases backlog

09 Jun 2015 10:50am
RUNDU, 09 JUN (NAMPA) - The Chairperson of the Magistrates Commission of Namibia, Judge Elton Hoff says the huge backlog of cases remains a great concern to magistrates and the commission.
Speaking during a five-days retreat for magistrates at Rundu on Monday, Hoff said one of the factors contributing towards this undesirable situation of cases backlogging includes the under utilisation of court hours, noting that some magistrates are also not in effective control of their court rolls.
“Magistrates must significantly contribute, through proper control, the reduction of cases long overdue. I wonder how many magistrates are in possession of diaries, and if they are, whether those diaries are properly utilised, since the keeping of a diary is a method through which a magistrate can control a court roll on a daily basis effectively,” said Hoff who is also a Judge of the High Court of Namibia.
Judge Hoff said it has been identified that the attitude of some magistrates also indirectly contributes toward the backlog of cases and affects the working environment in some magistrate’s offices. He indicated that there is a lackadaisical attitude of some magistrates towards their responsibilities.
“There should in my view, be no place in the magistracy for this type of character,” cautioned Hoff.
He however congratulated the magistrates saying he has observed an improvement in the quality of their work when perusing cases sent for review but was quick to point out that there is room for improvement, since as judicial officers they are all eternal students and it should be their goal to improve, continuously.
According to him, the magistracy can be referred to as the face of the judiciary, as it is at the magistrate’s court where members of the public experience the service provided by the judiciary, or the lack of such a service.
Hoff noted that in order for magistrates to do their work effectively, they need a conducive environment with the necessary infrastructure and equipment.
He announced at the same occasion that the Magistrates Commission has recommended the appointment of 16 magistrates at entry level to be stationed at centres throughout the country.
The magistrates' retreat is attended by 60 magistrates from around the country and aims to build capacity among magistrates by reflecting on major strategic issues and policies, while also deliberating on key activities for the financial year.
The retreat ends on Friday with official closing remarks expected to be delivered by the Deputy Justice Minister Lidwina Shapwa.