latest content

Citing separation of powers, Lesotho court refuses to order that national assembly vote on no confidence debate by secret ballot

Attempts by two MPs to bypass an investigation into possibly holding secret ballots in the Lesotho National Assembly have come unstuck: the High Court has rejected an application by the duo for the court to order that a no confidence ballot against the Prime Minister be held by secret ballot, saying this had to be decided by the assembly itself.

Read judgment

Two members of Lesotho’s national assembly have brought a constitutional application to the high court, wanting the court to rule that a secret ballot could be used when a resolution of no confidence in the government is debated.

Kenyan court rules presidential power to hold under-age offenders in prison indefinitely is unconstitutional, orders prisoner released at once

A Kenyan high court has declared that rights given to the head of government to detain certain convicted prisoners ‘at the pleasure of the president’ are unconstitutional. This is because the court found these powers usurp the power of the courts. But the case was not just a theoretical exercise; it concerned a very real matter in which a prisoner, convicted of a crime that attracted the death penalty at the time, was sentenced to jail ‘at the pleasure of the president’ because he was under age. That was well over 16 years ago.

Read judgment 

Known only by his initials, JMR, the man at the centre of this case, had been virtually forgotten as he languished in prison for an indefinite term.

Then he brought a challenge to the unthinkable situation in which he found himself.

Innovative Kenyan judgment on Presidential inaction should be studied by other jurisdictions - Justice Mathilda Twomey

The decision of a Kenyan judge has won high praise from trainers at a recent judicial core skills workshop by the Judicial Institute for Africa (JIFA), held in Cape Town and attended by judges from 12 African countries. The decision, by high court judge Enoch Mwita, dealt with a situation in which the President of the country, Uhuru Kenyatta, was held to have ignored the constitution by failing to appoint a member of the Judicial Service Commission.

Read judgment

One of the features of the core skills judicial training offered participants by the Judicial Institute for Africa (JIFA) is a one-to-one session in which a judge is offered feedback by a course faculty member on a decision he or she has already delivered.

The idea is to look at judgment structure and other issues covered during the workshops and, against that background, to offer constructive suggestions.  

Wildlife vs cattle: unauthorised newcomers cause tensions in Namibian conservation areas

Land is a major source of tension and dissatisfaction in Namibia and the courts are increasingly asked to step in when communities feel they are being ‘invaded’ by outsiders whose livestock put unbearable pressure on already scarce grazing resources. The latest such case involves a community trying to reinvent itself as a base for wildlife tourism: members of this community asked the court to order the removal of a number of families, with their livestock.

Read judgment

Community conflict over land and the best way to use it is still a major feature of Namibian litigation more than 30 years after independence.

The problem can be clearly seen in new decision by high court judge Shafimana Ueitele. This case is just one in a series that he and his colleagues have been asked to settle related to land use, particularly in the northern parts of the country.

Registration of a child’s birth: Unmarried fathers no longer treated differently from married fathers

On 22 September 2021, the Constitutional Court handed down a judgment in the case of Centre for Child Law v Director General: Department of Home Affairs and Others [2021] ZACC 31; the judgment found section 10 of the Births and Deaths Registration Act 51 of 1992 (the "Act"), to be invalid in its entirety, and consequently severed it from the Act, along with the wording in section 9(2) which subjected that provision to section 10. 

Section 10 of the Act provided for the notice of birth of a child born out of wedlock to be given under the surname of either the mother or the person acknowledging himself as the father.  The following scenarios emanated from section 10:

Wiser to restrain ongoing activity than risk irreparable damage to the environment – Zambian judge

Two Tanzanian-owned entities operating on the edge of a significant national park in Zambia, have been ordered to stop cutting down trees, clearing vegetation or putting up constructions at least until the dispute between them and the trust running the reserve is resolved. The judge hearing the application for an interim order against the two entities said that the status quo ‘should not be maintained. It would be wiser to restrain ongoing activity rather than risk irreparable damage to the environment.’

Read judgment

In what could prove the preliminary to a crucial conservation-related battle, perhaps even one of the most important environmental law disputes of the year for Zambia, the high court in Lusaka has ordered two Tanzanian-owned ventures on the edge of a national park, to stop cutting down trees, clearing vegetation or putting up any further constructions.

Training Tanzania’s judiciary on gender issues - the struggle, and the partial success

Training of judges and magistrates is an accepted tool to deal with built-in opinions and prejudices. In the same way, training can also be crucial in highlighting inaccurate preconceptions about gender issues. In her chapter forming part of the new work, Gender, Judging and the Courts in Africa, Juliana Masabo (a Tanzanian high court judge and former academic) takes readers through the difficulties in ensuring training for judges, magistrates and others who play a role in the court processes of Tanzania.

Read chapter

Controversial South African advocate barred by Lesotho CJ from prosecuting treason, murder case

Controversial advocate, Shaun Abrahams, forced from his top prosecution job in South Africa, has been hauled over the coals by Lesotho’s Chief Justice Sakoane Sakoane for his behaviour in a bitterly contested trial, and has been barred from further participation in the matter. Since he was dropped as the national prosecuting boss in SA, Abrahams has also had a not very successful stint prosecuting in Botswana. He was brought in to help the prosecuting authorities in Lesotho with a series of high-profile, politically sensitive murder and treason cases.

Read judgment on LesLII

 

The case from which former top South Africa prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams, has now been barred involves Lesotho’s former army commander, Lieutenant General Kennedy Kamoli and five others, charged with treason, murder and assault.

Dismissal of staffer who refused Covid-19 vaccine ruled ‘fair’

Is mandatory workplace vaccination constitutional? Is it even a fair workplace practice? These are questions being asked in many jurisdictions as employers try to ensure safe work environments. The issue is also beginning to filter into the court system, as those who do not want to be vaccinated challenge employers who have made vaccination mandatory.

Read ruling

In this case, between dismissed employee Theresa Mulderij and the Goldrush Group for which she had previously worked, the question that had to be decided was whether the company’s dismissal decision was ‘substantively fair, based on incapacity’ since the employee had refused to be vaccinated.

Gay 'spouses' case: Namibia's high court urges supreme court to change its mind

In a most unusual judgment, a full bench of Namibia’s high court has spelled out its strong disagreement with a decision made 21 years ago by that country’s highest court – and has urged the presently constituted Supreme Court to reconsider its views on the matter. The case, crucial for the country’s LGB community, and for human rights more broadly, concerned two same-sex couples (both couples involved one Namibian and one non-Namibian partner) ranged against the immigration authorities.

Read judgment

If ever there was a judgment that teaches the necessity for a reader to go beyond the text of the order, this is it.

Pages

x123xx