regulations

Court finds against ‘back door emergency’ in Malawi

A constitutional court in Malawi has delivered an unequivocal condemnation of that country’s Covid-19 lockdown regulations. In its decision last week, the three judges found that the rules were unconstitutional as they were made in terms of a law that did not permit such rules to be made. They also criticised the government for imposing a lockdown without concern for the poor of Malawi who would not have access to food and other essentials if they could not leave their homes.

Dying surrounded by family ‘a most fundamental right’ - court

In a case that has moved readers worldwide and that sparked a judge to comment on the rights of a dying person even during the Covid-19 pandemic, a court has ordered that a terminally ill Nigerian woman living in the UK be allowed to leave the care home where she had been staying, to spend her last days with her extended family. In her decision on the case, UK Judge Nathalie Lieven commented that the woman had ‘something between a few weeks and 3 – 6 months to live’ and that the question was whether she should be able to spend those last days with her family.

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The case, in which the woman was identified only as AO, was brought by her daughter, VE. In a decision delivered this week, the judge explained that VE asked the court to order that it was in her mother’s best interests to be allowed to leave the care home where she was then living, and move to stay with VE and her family.

Lockdown on hold, AG taken to task: latest from Malawi high court

In this week’s round of an ongoing dispute over the validity of Malawi’s Covid-19 restrictions, the high court has ruled that the government's planned regulations may still not be put into effect. The court has referred these challenges to the Chief Justice who will consider setting up a high court constitutional panel that would hear the problem and find a way forward. At its heart, the dispute is about whether the proposed restrictions have a valid legal base and/or contravene the constitution.

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Both the two key issues in this judgment will have sent shock waves through Malawi’s legal community. First, the court confirmed that the challenge to the validity of the country’s Covid-19 restrictions was weighty enough to be referred to the Chief Justice, Andrew Nyirenda. If the CJ certified it was necessary, a special panel of high court judges would sit to decide the constitutional issues raised.

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