Court Delays Affecting Justice Delivery

People feel we don't want to help them - M'manga People feel we don't want to help them - M'manga - pic by Luka Beston

Delays in discharging cases in courts is said to be affecting justice delivery and operations for the Legal Aid Bureau to the citizenry.

The bureau's Senior legal advocate responsible for Thyolo, Chikondi M'manga Kasambala, has told Zodiak that delays by the courts in setting dates and granting court reliefs to the justice seekers, are creating pressure to the bureau as they feel not helped.

Kasambala made the observation on Wednesday after a sensitisation event at Thyolo boma on access to legal representation where she added that since the opening of the district office in May 2022, they have so far handled over 100 cases.

"We are always a punchbag. People think maybe that because we are government lawyers we do not do the work to the perfection or the best of our ability, but this is because of backlog of cases in courts sometimes due to the promotion and shortage of judges, different issues. So it all trickles down to us", she said.

Kasambala added: "sometimes we just want injunctions, a quick remedy maybe someone is suffering injustice. But if the delay comes, for instance, this is farming season, we want an injuction because this is a land matter, someone may end up losing the whole farming season".

Meanwhile, Thyolo second grade magistrate James Balakasi, says for a long time lack of legal guidance from lawyers from town has proved to be expensive and difficult in serving justice to many people in the district.

"I'm sure the coming in of these lawyers in the district will assist Malawians with legal guidance. This is because they were finding it difficult to search for private lawyers in town which are expensive," Magistrate Balakasi said.

Thyolo District Council Vice Chairperson Hudson Ovila and Senior chief Nchiramwera, have since commended the bureau for establishing the district office which is easing the long distances locals were covering to Blantyre to access free legal services.

Inadequate judges, magistrates and court rooms are said to be contributing to the backlog of cases.

Some four months ago, Chief Justice Rezine Nzikamanda, ordered the judiciary to clear a backlog of cases within a space of 90 days.

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