High Court Legal Year Starts

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK For the first time in the history of the judicial system, the Judge President of the High Court Petrus Damaseb has announced the start of the High Court Legal Year 2006. Starting Monday next week, the official ceremony will take place in B-Court with attendance from various legal practitioners, judges and the general public. According to Judge President Damaseb, the upcoming event is being held as a public information exercise. “We are in the process of institution building and thereby strengthening institutions, which is part of the High Court’s planning exercise,” he said. Having been in the position for the past full year, the presiding Judge President saw the importance of keeping the public informed about the current operations of the court and to look at the way forward. The significance of the event, which is expected to be held on an annual basis, is for the public to receive some kind of report back from the legal system about its operations, past achievements, challenges and the way ahead in the New Year. The High Court is one of the institutions that deal with high profile cases and serves as a platform for the independent administration of justice. A case like that of the Social Security Commission versus Avid is considered by analysts as a landmark inquiry in the country where the perception was created that the High Court could deal effectively with fraudulent activities. One such analyst is Christiaan Keulder, who was quoted recently as saying that the process in which this case unravelled in the High Court showed the wrath of corruption and what effective role the courts could play in addressing the matter. “At least, there seems to be some sort of action taken. People who were implicated lost their jobs. Again, this is a sign that there is at least a belief that the legal system can solve these issues,” stated Keulder. Echoing the same sentiments, President of the Law Society of Namibia Elize Angula who will deliver a speech at the upcoming event said that it was imperative for the public to know what happens behind the scenes in the High Court in the way cases are dealt with. “The High Court in Namibia is the most functional High Court in Southern Africa because of effective service delivery and is answerable to the public on certain things,” said Angula. She commended the Judge President for initiating such a public information exercise, saying this enhances transparency in the administration of justice, while at the same time promoting the High Court activities to the public. Several stakeholders from the Namibia Law Society, the Prosecutor General, the Attorney General and legal practitioners will be present at the event to mark the start of the legal year. The event also provides a platform for the stakeholders to concretise their relations and activities. About eight High Court judges are also expected to be in attendance. The High Court Legal Year function is expected to be held at the start of the second week of January every year.

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