Statement in support of the Magistrates and Judges Association of Malawi
The Commonwealth Lawyer Association (CLA), The Commonwealth Legal Education Association (CLEA) and The Commonwealth Magistrates’ and Judges’ Association (CMJA) are concerned that constitutional and legislative provisions relating to the terms and conditions of service of the Malawi judiciary and by extension, of court personnel have been ignored by the current government of Malawi. This has led to the strike by the Judiciary and Court staff thus denying access to Justice for the population.
The conditions of service have been laid down in Section 114 of the Constitution and in the Judicial Service (Conditions of Service) Regulations 1997.
The Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles on the Accountability of and the Relationship between the Three Branches of Government (2003), have been breached. As a result the independence of the judiciary and the Rule of Law have been severely jeopardised. The Principles state in Article IV(b) that “Arrangements for appropriate security of tenure and protection of levels of remuneration must be in place” and in IV(c) that “Adequate resources should be provided for the judicial system to operate
effectively without any undue constraints which may hamper the independent sought.”
The disregard of the decisions of the National Assembly and the constitutional safeguards for the independence of the judiciary constitute clear breaches of the Commonwealth Principles to which the Government of the Malawi has subscribed.
The Associations urge the Government of the Malawi to respect the independence of the judiciary and to comply with the relevant constitutional provisions, Commonwealth Principles and other relevant international standards.