The MLS is major source of legal resource in Malawi. Apart from having input from other stakeholders, every bit of each of Malawi’s laws has gone through the hands of a lawyer. Since 1994, when the country adopted the current constitution, there have been a number of legal reforms. Members of the MLS have played a number of key roles in translating policies, norms, ideas into laws. Members of the MLS are involved in conducting research, consultations, reviews and drafting of laws. In recent years, the MLS has been contributing to the membership of various Special Law Commissions to review various laws.
The MLS, on its own initiative, also makes contributions towards legal reform. Since 2021, the MLS has taken special interest in the improvement of the pace of justice in the courts. At its Annual General Meeting held in March, 2021, the MLS passed MLS AGM Resolution Number MLS/AGM/2021/03/6. The resolution was passed on the basis of the belief by members of the MLS that the MLS has a duty to ensure that there is credibility and accountability in the delivery of justice because of section 64 of the LELPA as read with section 12 of the Constitution.
Since the passing of the above resolution, the MLS, through the Executive Committee, has been taking a number of efforts to implement the resolution. On 22nd May, 2023, the MLS held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) following a request by some members of the MLS who were seriously concerned with the pace of delivery of justice in the courts in Malawi. The EGM observed that the remaining lasting effort and contribution that the MLS can make to enhance the independence, efficiency and accountability of the Malawi Judiciary is the timely enactment of a Judicial Service Commission Act to articulate the scope of sections 12, 116, 117 and 118 of the Constitution and to clearly provide for regulation of judicial officers, their appointment, removal, disciplinary processes etc in accordance with more professional, transparency and accountability practices and standards within the Commonwealth. The EGM resolved and mandated the Executive Committee of the MLS to constitute an Advisory Team to work with the Executive Committee and develop short, medium and long term strategies and to undertake or advise on necessary key stakeholder or public engagements that would enable the MLS achieve the ultimate objective of causing the enactment of a comprehensive and constitutional purpose-fit Judicial Service Commission Act at the earliest opportunity in the remaining 2023 sittings of the National Assembly.
Following the resolution of the EGM, the Executive Committee constituted and announced a Malawi Law Society-Judicial Service Commission Bill Advisory Team whose main mandate is to implement the resolutions of the EGM. The Advisory Team has membership with diverse and relevant expertise to see to it that the objective for setting up the Advisory Team is met. The Advisory Team is chaired by Mr Raphael Mhone, a legal practitioner with 38-years’ experience. Since its constitution, the Advisory Team has worked tirelessly through its committees, namely: Strategy Committee, Communication Committee, Resource Mobilisation Committee and Drafting Committee. The Advisory Team has so far reviewed the draft Judiciary Administration Bill that the Judiciary submitted to the Ministry of Justice.
Although the original mandate of the Advisory Team was to come up with a draft Judicial Service Commission Bill, the Advisory Team resorted to improving the Judiciary Administration Bill as that would negate the need to consult the Judiciary on the draft Judicial Service Commission Bill thereby quickening the process. The revised Judiciary Administration Bill was submitted to the Ministry of Justice on 4th August, 2023. It is expected that the Ministry of Justice, through its drafting section, will review the draft Judiciary Administration Bill and to have it submitted in preparation for its introduction in Parliament in the November, 2023 sitting.
MLS-JSC Bill Advisory
On 22nd May, 2023, the MLS held an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) following a request by some members of the MLS who were seriously concerned with the pace of delivery of justice in the courts in Malawi. The EGM observed that the remaining lasting effort and contribution that the MLS can […]