Chief Justice, Luke Malaba, has set aside June 10 of every year as the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) Day on which members of the public would be allowed access to the country’s courts for the purposes of understanding how they operate.
Many people across the country are not familiar with court operations and let alone how judgements and rulings are arrived at, with interaction between members of the judiciary and the public largely restricted to court sessions.
However, officially opening the 2020 legal year Monday, Malaba said that it was set to change going forward.
“In this respect, in 2020, the commission will take the unconventional route to reserve a day on which members of the public will be allowed access to the courts, not for purposes of litigating, but to understand the functions of each court in terms of the law,” said the Chief Justice.
“In recognition of the theme of “Transparency and Accountability”, I have authorised the secretariat to commemorate the Judicial Service Commission Day. This will be an open day, during which members of the public and all stakeholders will be invited to visit court stations near their locations throughout the country to learn more about how the courts operate.
The public will be permitted to ask questions on matters that concern these institutions. They will even be able to raise complaints.”
He said he believed by going that route, the JSC would have the opportunity to engage and interact with the public with a view to foster access to justice.
“The initiative will focus on increasing the visibility of our courts in the communities in which they are located,” explained Malaba.
“Every citizen must have basic knowledge of the operations of the courts. Above all, the exercise is intended to ensure that the courts are transparent and accountable to the public.
Allow me to advise that we have set the 10th of June of each year as the Judicial Service Commission Day.”
Malaba said the choice of the day was not arbitrary.
He explained: “The 10th of June was the day in 2010 when the Commission, with its expanded mandate, came into existence after the promulgation of the Judicial Service Act.
The day marked the complete separation of the administration of the affairs of the Judiciary from the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs. The declaration of the 10th of June out of all the other 364 days of the year is clearly befitting. In 2020 the date becomes even more relevant, as it marks a decade of the Commission’s existence.”
He went on to urge stakeholders and law-based organisations wishing to collaborate with the JSC for the maiden commemorations to come on board, while also advising citizens to keep the date in mind.