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'Justice Ministry, focal point for administration of justice' LS Camara

Oct 6, 2010, 1:01 PM | Article By: Sainey M.K. Marenah

Lamin S Camara a senior legal practitioner and member of the Gambia Bar Association has opined that the ministry of Justice is undoubtedly one of the most important ministries in the Executive.

"It is the focal point for the administration of justice. It is the nerve centre for the effective and efficient justice delivering system and, I dare say, that if the Ministry of Justice is handicapped, then the entire justice delivery system will suffer," he stressed.

LS Camara was speaking to state prosecutors during a day-long training session held recently at the Legal Capacity Building Project office in Banjul.

Presenting a paper on the topic: "The requirement of working in the Drafting Unit as a Curator in the Companies Registry and as a Registrar General," Camara said the ministry of Justice is divided into many units, including the office of the Curator of Intestate Estates, the office of the Registrar of Companies, the office of the Registrar General and the office of the Parliamentary Counsel otherwise known as the Drafting Unit.

The totality of all these offices, he added, makes up the Attorney General's Chambers and Ministry of Justice. "It is the public law office in which legal practitioners (state counsel) ply their trade for and on behalf of the state, and at the behest of the state," he stated.

In the past, he went on, the Attorney General's Chambers and Ministry of Justice had been a stepping stone for new recruits in the legal profession; a place to acquire the much needed and requisite practice, experience, and who bolt out as soon as the experience begins to show.    

Dilating on the reqiurements for working in the Drafting Unit, Camara said the drafting unit is a very important component of the ministry, noting that the office is responsible for the drafting of all bills before they are subsequently enacted into law or gazetted.

"Therefore, I dare say that whilst the idea or brainchild for a particular piece of the legislation may emanate elsewhere, the actual delivery of that legislation, in other words, the labour ward for the law, is the drafting unit. Thus, the importance of this unit cannot be overemphasised," he further stated.

The drafting unit, he noted, has the onerous task of putting bills in the language that is exactly or almost reflects the intention of legislators, that is, the National Assembly.

According to the lawyer, this is not by any means a mean feat, adding that it requires ingenuity at least and dexterity at most.

Camara is of the view that the drafting unit of the ministry of Justice requires people or staff with requisite training in various areas of law. However, he added, the most important requirement to work at the ministry of Justice as a state counsel is a degree from a recognised university in a Commonwealth country.