By Omar Bah
Gambian leader Adama Barrow has called for more efforts to address lapses in the country’s judicial system as the country is undergoing an era of unprecedented change through constitutional and institutional reforms.
Addressing delegates at the opening of the 2020 Legal Year, President Adama Barrow decried the backlog and slow handling of court cases, stressing the need to scale up efforts in order to maintain public confidence in the Judiciary.
He seized the opportunity to announce the appointment of two more judges from Ghana, “I hope more Gambians will take up the challenge of serving on the bench to fill the gap,” he said.
The Gambian leader said government remains committed to “providing a sustained conducive environment for an efficient, transparent and fair legal system in the country.”
The Chief Justice, Hassan Jallow said the speedy dispensation of justice requires collaborative efforts from judicial officers and their support staff.
“Collaboration is much needed in criminal cases, the police, the law officers in the Attorney General’s Chambers, private legal practitioners, National Agency for Legal Aid (NALA), witnesses and parties to cases, and particularly those arms of gov’t which are the custodians and dispensers of the resources that are needed for speedy dispensation of justice,” he said.
The Chief Justice revealed major plans to build a new court complex at Bundung aimed at hosting a high court, magistrate courts and Cadi courts.
“I am happy to report that with the provision of funding, the completion of the design of the structures and the award of the contract for the construction of the complex has been concluded,” he indicated.
Justice Jallow said plans are at an advanced stage to open in 2020 a new magistrate court at the Mile 7 properties of the judiciary in order to reduce the pressure on the Kanifing courts.
“It is necessary that more court space is created in the Greater Banjul Area not only to reduce the queue of magistrates for court rooms but also to attend efficiently to the large number of cases in the subordinate courts in this region,” Jallow explained.