Appointment of Judges Needs To Be Transparent - LSB

The Law Society of Botswana (LSB) has expressed concern over the new process of appointing judges and has subsequently seized to be represented at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

This followed a resolution by the JSC to start using a new method of filling vacancies for judges, which does not include advertising for such.

LSB said it has always advocated for a transparent process of appointment of judges, which includes advertising the vacancies as they become available.   It said that, although the process was used to appoint High Court judges and magistrates, the same could not be said for appointment of justices to the Court of Appeal (CoA) bench.

LSB said it finds this step to be regressive and serving no purpose. “The new procedure will make the process more opaque in an era where everyone is routing for transparency. The secrecy will invariably lead to bad choices for appointment. The society is at pains to understand the motivation and rationale of the JSC,” LSB said in a recent statement.

The Society also announced that it has seized to have a representative in the JSC after finding out that its representative, attorney Ricardo Seabueng, supports the new approach.

The LSB stated that the decision was made after its representative declined to resign from the JSC. According to the rules, the representative cannot be recalled before the end of his first two-year term.  “Based on the facts above, Council of the LSB believes that the representative does not share the values and position of the Society on transparency and appointment of judges,” the LSB stated. 

“Appointment of judges is fundamental in ensuring a fair, impartial and knowledgeable judiciary and cannot be compromised.”

The issue of appointment of judges has been a subject of contention between the LSB and JSC over the years.

The Society has always said the JSC has on numerous occasions disregarded their recommendations for appointment of judges to the CoA bench, going with candidates who are believed to have the interests of the Executive.

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