Malawi Chief Justice warns against ‘judge shopping’: Mzuzu High Court to have visiting judges

Malawi Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has issued a stern warning on any attempts of ‘judge shopping’, saying it compromises the integrity of the Judiciary and there is need to devise ways of curbing it.

Lawyers with the onluy judge at Mzuzu High Court, Dingiswayo Madise

Lawyers with the onluy judge at Mzuzu High Court, Dingiswayo Madise

Last week in parliament, Malawi Congress Party (MCP) spokesperson on legal affairs and Lilongwe South West MP, Peter Chakwantha, advised the newly appointed chief justice to uproot the ‘judge shopping’ which he said is bedevilling the justice delivery.

‘Judge shopping’ is a tendency among lawyers in collaboration with court clerks who, among other things, “scout” for their preferred judges whom they believe would dispense justice in their favour.

Speaking to journalists in Mzuzu after meeting the Malawi Law Sosiety (MLS) President John Suzi Banda and other Mzuzu based lawyers on Tuesday, the Chief Justice said aid ‘judge shopping’ is a serious concern.

“We must find ways of dealing with that. We must certainly, as an institution, curb any attempt to judge shopping and the way it is manifested, we must be decisive about it,” he said.

Bur MLS president said his office was yet to come across genuine complaints of ‘judge shopping’.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice disclosed that Mzuzu High Court will soon be receiving visiting judges from Lilongwe and other court regions to support the only Resident Judge Dingiswayo Madise.

He explained that the immediate suggestion during the meeting with the lawyers was that, twice in a month, judges from other court districts especially Lilongwe should be going to Mzuzu to assist the resident judge.

“We should also be thinking about getting a permanent judge or two for Mzuzu. Perhaps, while we are waiting for appointments to be made, we can also think as an institution whether a judge or two can be transferred to Mzuzu. That will, for the time being, help,” Nyirenda said.

He said the number of judges to be sent to the Mzuzu will depend on the number of judges available on the ground.

“We must be aware that the High Court, as I speak, has only 22 judges; so to spare enough numbers of judges for all the court regions is quite a challenge for the Judiciary until a few more judges are recruited,” Nyirenda said.

He  said the recruitment of judges remains a matter for consultations between the Judicial Service Commission, the office of the Chief Justice and the President.—Additional reporting by McCarthy Mwalwimba, Mana

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chibwaka
Guest

Uyu mukuti Madise uyu asamuke mpaka 20 years ku mzuzu akutenga ngati khoti la mzuzu ndi property yake isaah

Judge Hon. Phwiiii !
Guest

The reason why lawyers go judge shopping is to find a judge who will hear a case and deliver a judgement , not necessarily ,one favouring his client, BUT. WITHIN REASONABLE TIME.
There are justices who are. now Learned Justices of the Supreme Court of Malawi, who , more than 15 years later have yet to deliver judgement on cases they heard as Senior Resident Magistrate ! Even more cases still pending from their High Court days.
Do something about that and judge shopping will be a thing of the past !

Alungwana
Guest

Judge shopping. The common market of the Blantyre judges. It was there during the 2014 elections. Judge shoping is harmful to justice. Judge shopping is more than corruption.

Julie
Guest

Much as the lawyers are swindling and overcharging their clients, thereby getting rich fast, its the same money they use for judge/ment shopping. This tendancy is rendering the poor injustice. The rich are going away with the justice while the poor are treated injustly. Pls do some even when looking at the judgements of the cases, consider even without appealing

Kadzanja
Guest
The other problem which you have not talked about is the length of time which some judges take to conclude cases. Some of the cases are so obvious but we hear adjournement upon adjournement. Especially industrial cases, some grieving parties (employees) die while their cases are still in courts. Please, please I thought one of the reasons why industrial cases were separated from other cases was that at least there should be reasonable length of time it takes to conclude cases. Malawi Judicially, the perception is that judges are always right and there is nobody to question them. Please change… Read more »
marble
Guest

This is a good sigh of relief to hear the honorable Chief Justice quickly responding to that youthful lawyer cum MP Chakhwantha’s call in parliament last week. We need such calibre of MP who speak from their area of expertise. Big up Chakhwantha ! BIG UP NYIRENDA!

lol
Guest

Mbava number one ndi zimenezi.

Chindazi
Guest

Who does not know…… Madise intimidates others in the North…. and I don’t think visiting Judges will survive….. unless you transfer Madise…….. he is so corrupt…….kukondaso azimai a eni ake……

Akatswiri
Guest

That is a good move.

dumerang
Guest

some kind of sense CJ

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