24 Sep 2019 10:40am
WINDHOEK, 24 SEP (NAMPA) The Law Reform and Development Commission (LRDC) will in the coming days publish the Divorce Law Report, according to its 2018/19 annual report tabled in the National Assembly recently, by Justice Minister Sacky Shangala.
The LRDC has been working on the Divorce Law Project since 2004 and a final report on the divorce project was published, however since then, no law was passed to give effect to the recommendations made in that report and therefore the subsequent commission decided to revisit the project.
The Divorce Law Report is necessitated by the fact that the current divorce law is based on the Roman-Dutch common law which provides for divorce based on fault.
This means that to obtain a divorce, one spouse must prove that the spouse committed a matrimonial offense, LRDC Project Officer Chisom Obuido said in the annual report.
She explained that: The divorce process is both formal and complicated with the result that a party seeking a divorce must invariably do so through a lawyer, mostly at a very exorbitant cost.
However, to this day, no law was passed to give effect to the recommendations made in the 2004 Divorce Report, hence the decision by the LRDCs decision to revisit it.
The current commission has prioritised the Divorce Law Project over the past few years and its deliberations and stakeholder consultations have since culminated into a proposed draft Bill and another Divorce Law Report, she said.
The proposed draft legislation, which Shanghala will table in the National Assembly in the coming days seeks to repeal the Roman-Dutch common law grounds for divorce based on fault, with irretrievable breakdown of marriage instead.
Local lawyer, Mesekameneko Tjituri welcomed the proposed amendments to the current divorce law, saying they will bring a much-needed change in family law practice in Namibia.
The most notable change, however, is the fact that litigants will not be required to prove fault on the part of the defendant but merely to allege that the marriage cannot be salvaged on the basis that it has broken down irretrievably. With some other changes in our law, even lay litigants can bring an action by themselves in the jurisdiction where they live which will ultimately save costs and legal fees, Tjituri said.