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Judicial independence infringed when Uganda's Chief Justice has to 'plead' for funds - constitutional court

Uganda’s constitutional court has found that the independence of the country’s judiciary is in jeopardy because of the way the budget of this arm of government is handled. In one of its most significant decisions under the present constitution, the court said the system made the judiciary very much the junior branch in the three arms of government, and often reduced the Chief Justice ‘to pleading for funds from the executive’.

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In this landmark case the Uganda law society made an alarming claim: the country’s executive and legislature had failed to help the judicial arm of government take its rightful place under the constitution. In doing so, they undermined the independence of the judiciary.

Angolan lawyer’s arrest, torture condemned by SADC Lawyers’ Association

Angolan lawyers are in uproar over an incident in which one of their profession was detained, tortured and charged by police. According to a statement by the Southern African Develoment Community Lawyers' Association, the lawyer, Eugenio Marcolino, had been appearing in court when the police detained him. 

 

Read the SADC-LA statement of concern

Lawyers in Angola are planning a protest against the arrest and torture of one of their colleagues late last month.

New website of the Seychelles' judiciary to 'help ensure open justice'

The judiciary of Seychelles has launched a new website, providing access to the judgments of its courts as well as giving the judiciary a more human face. It is intended to help the public with provide resources as well as information. Everything the public needs to know about accessing legal aid, for example, can be found there, while for lawyers all the Practice Directions now become available in a single place

Take a tour of the new website

The new website is headed by a photograph of the Palais de Justice of Seychelles and it is enough to make anyone keen for a judicial appointment there or even just a visit: an elegant white building, with tall columns, palm trees and a general warm sense of calm.

Record mysteriously disappears: what should a court do?

Out of the blue, and after serving nearly 16 years of his 30-year sentence, a prisoner in one of Zimbabwe’s maximum security jails applied for bail pending an appeal. But there were two problems: there was no appeal pending - and there could be no appeal since all the records had mysteriously disappeared. Not even the name of the trial magistrate could be found. What was the high court to do?

Should South Africa's top court hear a torture dispute implicating Equatorial Guinea's vice president?

Teodorin Obiang, vice president of Equatorial Guinea (EG), a country regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world, wants South Africa’s top court to halt a R70m legal claim being brought against him there. The claim, by a South African businessman, is for damages relating to his wrongful arrest and detention in EG between 2013 – 2015, under conditions so appalling that they amount to torture under international law.

African Legal Technology Organizations Partner to Develop a New Caselaw Management System for Kenya

PRESS RELEASE

6 March 2020
Nairobi, Kenya and Cape Town, South Africa

 

Kenya Law has developed and continues to curate the largest collection of national caselaw in Africa. The official law reporter of the Kenyan government plays a critical role in the organisation, management and dissemination of Kenya’s primary legal materials: legislation and case law. This aids the public, the legal profession and Government, and supports an effective justice sector.

Africa's women struggle to gain abortion rights; USA women struggle to keep them

Most African states still struggle over the right to an early, safe, legal abortion and as a result the number of women dying from illegal terminations continues to increase at an alarming rate. However, in the United States, where women thought that this right had been established decades ago, it is now under serious threat, with the principle established in Roe v Wade under systematic attack in the courts and the states' legislatures. Just last week the Supreme Court heard argument in the latest state bid to undermine that right.

Read transcript of argument in US Supreme Court hearing: June Medical Services v Russo

Read Roe v Wade 

Indian widow’s plight ‘shocks conscience of the court’

In Africa, as in India, land rights, access to and ownership of land are a major concern. It is often the most poor and vulnerable that suffer the worst when these rights are not respected. And if you are an unlettered woman, on your own, you could find yourself and your rights disappearing altogether. Take the case of Vidya Devi who lives in India’s Himachal Pradesh state. More than half a century ago, the state took her land away from her for a road – but to this day she has been paid not a cent for it, even though the state was legally obliged to pay compensation.

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This is a story that could have come from almost anywhere in Africa. The fact that it concerns a woman in India shows how widespread the problem is: governments in many parts of the world are among those who trample on the rights of vulnerable especially elderly women.

Eritrea 'slave labourers' - Canada's highest court allows claim to be heard in Canada

In a widely-hailed new decision, Canada’s supreme court has ruled that Eritrean workers, allegedly forced by the state to provide slave labour to a Canadian-owned mine in Eritrea, may sue the mining company in the Canadian courts. Vancouver-based company, Nevsun, has been operating a mining outfit in Eritrea, using local workers. In terms of the new supreme court decision, these miners may now sue Nevsun, in Canada and under Canadian law, for the conditions under which they say they were made to work.

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