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Judiciary’s bid to reduce 2 000 case backlog

The judiciary has implemented a pilot project in the Magistrates Courts to reduce the case backlog which stood at 2 047 criminal cases in the country’s regional courts and 22 204 the district court in February this year.
Last year, the regional courts only finalised 20% of the overall cases and only 6% in 2018/2019.
Namibia has 6 permanent regional court seats although nine regional court magistrates serve a total of twenty towns on circuit basis.
Chief Justice Peter Shivute this morning said the project which started in September 2019 for 12 months targeted The Oshakati Division and the Windhoek Central Division.
“The goal of the case backlog reduction strategy is to improve the face of justice in that all cases which are older than 12 months will receive priority listing and finalisation, all pending judgments will be delivered,” Shivute said.
Earlier this year, Shivute credited the underperformance of the Lower Courts to the shortage of courtrooms, shortage of magistrates, double-booking by lawyers, incomplete police investigations and resultant delay in prosecutorial decisions, too many postponements of cases by magistrates and perennially malfunctioning recording equipment.
To address the limited number of magistrates, Shivute said a case backlog clearance plan tailored to a specific court is yet to be developed and implemented to motivate for the increase in the number of magistrates at all courts.
Shivute was speaking at the opening of the annual magistrate’s conference.

Wonder Guchu

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