Administration of Justice (AoJ) has introduced new appointment procedures for the positions of judge of the High Court.
The decision reportedly comes after there was an in-depth debate on the effectiveness of the existing system.
According to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) secretary, Michael Motlhabi the new procedure was agreed by members of the commission including representatives’ of the public, government, the judiciary and the law society.
Amongst the new procedures that will be implemented commencing January 2019 is a register created by the JSC meant to enter the names of eligible lawyers interested in being considered for the position of judge of the High Court.
“Each eligible lawyer who responds to the call for expressions of interest will submit his or her curriculum vitae and have his or her name added to the register where suitable candidates will be shortlisted,” Motlhabi explained.
Further, according to the procedures, Motlhabi said eligible candidates who respond to the call for expressions of interest are required to ensure that they adhere to the requirements to qualify for appointment to the position of judge in accordance with the following laid out criteria and the constitution. Some of the laid out criteria is that the interested party should hold, or must have held office, as judge of a court having unlimited jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters in Botswana, in a Commonwealth country or in any country outside the Commonwealth that may be prescribed by Parliament or a court having jurisdiction in appeals from such a court.
Also to be considered, the applicants should be qualified to practise
“Be a Chief Magistrate who has held that office for not less than five years and be committed to the continuous improvement in court practice and proper administration of justice, working in harmony with Judicial colleagues and efficiently with court officers to achieve those ends,” the procedures state.
Further, the procedures reveal, the candidate must be an effective communicator in dealing with legal professionals, witnesses and litigants and be able to produce clear and reasoned judgements and opinions and be a good systematic and conceptual thinker, demonstrating clarity of thought and independence.
Moreover, the candidate is required to be an experienced legal practitioner with a confirmed record of diligence, integrity and professional achievement coupled with knowledge and understanding of the law consistent with holding judicial office and capable of making fair and balanced decisions according to the relevant law without undue delay.
“The candidate should be highly organised, able to demonstrate sound court management skills and work well under pressure and be a person of integrity, maturity and patience, who inspires confidence and respect,” he said.