Over 13 000 judgements delivered in 2016

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Maria Amakali

Windhoek-A total of 13, 348 judgements were delivered by the judiciary system during the past legal year, even though it was short on manpower.

During the first two quarters of 2016 magistrates’ courts attended to 25,787 criminal cases of which 12,768 were finalised.

Ninety-four magistrates countrywide had to attend to these cases. A total of 19,452 criminal cases were carried forward from the quarter October to December 2016, said Chief Justice Peter Shivute.

The figures translate into 49.5% of the cases completed during that period.
The Supreme Court, which holds three sessions every year, handed down 37 judgements, including some of which had been outstanding for quite a long time. In the same year the court received and disposed of five civil petitions and three criminal petitions.

Shivute said all the old judgements of one retired judge have since been allocated to other judges for completion and will be delivered in the first quarter of this year.

Shedding light on the High Court which only has 18 judges (excluding the judge president) of whom 13 hold permanent appointments and three serving the northern local division, Shivute noted that the judges finalised between 600 and 650 matters per month on the residual motion court roll.

This translates into 89 criminal trial matters, of which 20 were registered during the 2016 legal year, about 2,000 criminal review matters and close to 200 criminal appeals.

The judges in the civil and labour stream, numbering five permanent and five acting judges, each handled between 100 and 250 defended matters under judicial case management.

Five judges in the criminal stream attended to a workload which would ordinarily require six to seven judges, while the eight judges in the civil and labour stream attended to a workload which would ordinarily require no less than 15 judges, said Shivute.

Apart from the obvious constraints, the 15 judges of the main division during 2016 delivered a total of 439 judgements. Amongst those employed by the judiciary, 92 percent are graduates from the University of Namibia. “The magistracy remains committed to work down the backlog,” said the chief justice.

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