High Court also under financial threat due to budget cuts

11 Feb 2017 08:40am
OSHAKATI, 11 FEB (NAMPA) - The judiciary has also been affected by the financial constraints faced by the other organs of the state, Chief Justice Peter Shivute has said.
Shivute said this in his address read on his behalf during the official opening of the 2017 Legal Year for the High Court of Namibia’s local division in Oshakati on Wednesday.
He said the unintended consequences of the current financial difficulties are of great concern.
“The Office of the Judiciary has implemented very deep cuts in operational expenses in the 2017/18 fiscal year and the anticipated cuts are going to be even more devastating,” Shivute said.
He added that these measures have adversely affected the operations of the courts. One such procedure is the mediation process at the High Court, which is under threat of being discontinued because of the judiciary's inability to pay mediator's fees.
“This will in turn affect the disposal of cases outside court without the need for going through costly and lengthy trials. In addition, if additional resources are not allocated to the judiciary, it will not be possible to appoint additional judicial officers,” Shivute said.
The Office of the Judiciary might also not be able to pay court fees such as witness and interpreters’ fees associated with criminal trials in both the high and magistrate’s courts.
“We could well be forced to close down court offices for extended periods of time if we are not able to cover water and electricity expenses when they become due and payable,” he said.
Shivute is however hopeful that these consequences will be averted through the Executive and Legislature cooperating.
The proceedings coincided with the official opening of the 2017 legal year at the Windhoek Supreme Court.