Fix laws or face huge damages claims – judge warns Malawi lawmakers on the state of COVID-19 disaster legislation

In a long and highly unusual judgment, a judge of Malawi’s high court has shown that the country’s legislation is completely unprepared to manage the coronavirus pandemic, and without the appropriate regulations or, in some cases, even appropriate laws. The judge made these findings in a case that concerned 10 Chinese nationals visiting the country. In a series of steps by officials of Malawi’s immigration and citizenship services some were deported, while the remaining four are still in Malawi although attempts were made to send them back to China.

Read judgment

The decision delivered by Judge Kenyatta Nyirenda in this case is long, dense and in parts highly unusual in style.

In view of the significance of the judgment, for Malawi and other countries needing to make regulations to manage the coronavirus pandemic, this discussion of the judgment is longer than usual. It is divided into three parts:

1. The story of the Chinese visitors and initial argument in the case they have brought

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.

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.

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