Cherno Marena, The Gambia’s solicitor general has called on lawyers to put their knowledge and experience into writing books for he university and law school.
Marena said both the University of the Gambia and the Gambia Law School use foreign materials in their studies adding that it is high time that Gambian lawyers publish books for the use by these two institutions.
“I want to challenge senior members of the bar to publish books to be used. Apart from constitutional law and law of evidence, our law students do not have anything to rely on. They rely on foreign books in their studies. We (the Ministry) are thinking of coming up with incentives to encourage people to venture in to writing books for our students to rely on,” Marena said.
The solicitor general stated this on Friday, February 14th at the launch of the Supreme Court Law Report 2010 to 2012 and a reprint of the Law Report of 1994.
Marena said law reports are important components of Gambian legal system which is based on precedence. He said the Ministry of Justice is contemplating expanding the mandate of the council to include updating statutes.
“The attorney general is working towards helping the council in terms of staffing and resources. This is because he has confidence in the council,” Marena said.
Lawyer Dawda Jallow, the master of the ceremony said law reports are part of the laws and they help people understand the laws better.
Justice Awa Bah, the president of the Gambia Court of Appeal who doubles as the chairperson of the National Council for Law Reporting said the Council was established by an act of the National Assembly and under the Attorney General. She said they have the power to collect judgments and rulings of the superior courts and publish them.
“Judicial decisions play important role in our laws. Despite the improvement in the electronic access to judicial decisions law report still plays crucial role in the development of law,” she said.
Justice Gibril Semega-Janneh, a judge of the Supreme Court who represented the Chief Justice said the Supreme Court is the apex court and the leader in shaping The Gambia’s jurisprudence. He said all other courts are bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court adding that easy access to their decisions is very important in helping them when making judicial decisions.
He said the publication of the law report will have a positive impact on the administration of justice in the country and added that the judiciary should start publishing judicial authorities (judgments and rulings) online adding that this will help in the timely access to judicial authorities because the law reporting comes periodically.
Sourahata Janneh, the chief launcher of the two books spoke at length about the importance of law reports. He said “useful judgments are highly impracticable without law report”, and that law reporting makes it easy for people to have access to judicial authorities. “It is easy to understand cases when you read a law report,” he said.