Backlog of cases in magistrate's courts worrying: Chief Justice

08 Feb 2018 17:50pm
WINDHOEK, 08 JAN (NAMPA) - Chief Justice, Peter Shivute, said the huge backlog of cases in the magistrate’s courts across the country remains a source of great concern for Namibia's Judiciary.
Recently released statistics show that between January and September 2017, the magistrate’s courts registered a total of 38 435 cases and only managed to finalise about 19 140, meaning the courts only managed to complete half of the registered cases.
Speaking during the official opening of the 2018 Legal Year on Wednesday, Shivute said the contributing factors to the backlog include inadequate courtrooms, the malfunctioning of and insufficient recording equipment and the shortage of both judicial officers and court support staff.
“This is of great concern to me and the entire Judiciary because at this rate we are building up a backlog of cases in the magistrate’s courts. We are looking at a range of solutions to arrest the trend. As far as infrastructure goes, we have begun to acquire, and to more generally deploy ready-to-use structures to serve as court rooms,” he said.
According to Shivute, the Judiciary is also in the process of rolling out a full-time traffic court in Bismarck Street in the capital, which will be dedicated solely to the adjudication of traffic offences.
In 2017, Namibia's Supreme Court registered 93 cases (including appeals, reviews and petitions) of which 46 were enrolled for hearing and 45 judgments delivered.
About 20 of these appeals lapsed while 10 out of 16 petitions were finalised.
Furthermore, Shivute informed the members of the legal fraternity that the reforms in respect of judicial case management, mediation and e-justice initiated at the High Court continue to be of great value in the early finalisation of cases and reducing litigation costs.
The success rate of matters referred to mediation improved from 60,4 per cent in 2016 to 68 per cent in 2017.
The Chief Justice once again assured all Namibians that the Judiciary is committed to playing its part in nation building by strengthening the rule of law through the delivery of quality and timely justice to the community.