#Article (Archive)

Court to Start Sittings on Saturdays

Jul 10, 2009, 8:28 AM

With effect from 18th July 2009, Law Courts will sit on Saturdays, according to a press release from the Office of the Chief Justice, signed by Mr. Haruna Jaiteh, the Judicial Secretary.

"The objective of the scheme is to expedite the hearing of civil and criminal cases, as part of current strategies to address the problems of backlog and delays in the system," the release stated.

According to the release, the scheme will be implemented initially at Magistrates Courts in Banjul, Kanifing, Bundung and Brikama. High Courts embrace the scheme when it resumes after the summer vacation in October 2009.

"The cases covered by the scheme include those that involve lay litigants who are not represented by lawyers and non-contentious issues. No cases scheduled under the scheme will be adjourned and the parties coming to the Saturday sittings must be ready to proceed with their cases to conclusion," the release added.

"His Lordship, the Hon Chief Justice, having consulted the bar and stakeholders, has directed the courts concerned to draw up lists of all such cases and notify the parties involved for the programme to start in earnest. Lay litigants with cases pending in these courts, not represented by lawyers and interested in pursuing their cases under the scheme are hereby been requested to liaise with courts concerned for all necessary steps to be taken.

"The move is a response to the huge build up of backlog of cases and difficulties being experienced by unrepresented litigants in the courts where priority has always been given to cases involving lawyers or represented litigants.

"The Hon Chief Justice therefore solicits the cooperation of all concerned in the interest of justice and for the benefit of all litigants to ensure that justice is dispensed and administered speedily in a cost-effective manner," the release concluded.