Namibia

Court finds award of two Namibian farms, aimed at land reform, tainted by corruption and irregularities

An official decision awarding two farms to a business venture that had not even applied to be allotted them, has been set aside by Namibia’s high court. Judge Harold Geier said that the original decision had to be scrapped because one of the decision-makers had not recused himself even though he had an interest in the matter, being a manager of one of the business entities under consideration. It was an offence not to declare one’s interest in such a case, and recuse oneself, and could result in a fine and prison sentence.

Read judgment

The facts that emerged from Judge Harald Geier’s decision read like a good governance nightmare.

World Mental Health Day highlights shackling, inadequate court response

Just as Human Rights Watch issued its horrific report on the shackling of people with mental illness in many countries around the world, so an equally horrific case has emerged in Namibia. The report and the case show that there is a great deal still to be done to sensitise ordinary members of communities round the world – and, sadly, this includes magistrates, whom one might expect to know better – about how to respond to mental illness and what the law and the constitution require in such cases.

New book points to solutions for civil case backlogs

When the deputy chief justice of Namibia writes a book on court-managed civil procedure in that country’s high court, then judges in many countries should pay attention. That's because it is written by the judge who is widely regarded as the architect of Namibia's new and highly successful system, and he has made sure that his book will be informative and helpful for other countries wanting to follow the same path - towards judicial case management and a dramatic reduction in civil case backlogs.

Justice Petrus Damaseb’s new book details a judicial revolution: the change from the old, established system for managing civil procedure in Namibia, to a highly-efficient new order in which the ‘orthodox adversarial system’ has been transformed into one ‘where the pace of civil litigation has been removed from litigants and lawyers and placed in the hands of judges.’

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