The MLS’s Meeting with the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament on the Proposal to Amend Constitution to provide for Contract Judges
On 3rd July, 2021, the MLS released a press statement responding to the Executive and Legislative Branch of Government, on the appointment of two High Court Judges to serve at Malawi Government foreign missions and a proposal developed by the Executive Branch heading to Parliament then to amend the Constitution so as to enable “The State President, on the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, appoint judges on contract for a specified period.”
The MLS recommended that any desire to improve the performance of the Judiciary must be within the constitutional spirit of preserving judicial independence through preservation of security of tenure and separation of powers. The MLS recommended that the same should preferably be championed through an urgent overhaul to the Judicature Administration Act than to amendment of the Constitution.
Following the Press Statement released on 3rd July, 2021 the Executive Committee of the MLS was called before the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament to deliberate the draft Constitutional Amendment Bill in relation to the proposal for the Constitution to provide for fixed term contracts for judges. The meeting was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Malawi Judiciary and the Malawi Law Society. Following the deliberations, the Legal Affairs Committee of Parliament deleted clause 3(b)(3) from the draft Bill and accordingly advised the National Assembly. The issue of contract judges was not placed before Parliament when the revised Bill was finally presented before the full house and passed into law.