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Chief Magistrate
Turks and Caicos
Click here for details



"The Judiciary as Guarantors of the Rule of Law"
Georgetown, Guyana

18-22 September 2016
Details to follow shortly


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WRI have received a small grant to enhance their networks of activist widows groups and lawyers dealing with cases related to harmful cultural mourning rites and the inhumane treatment of widows. It is gathering information with a view to sharing good practice in improving the rights of widows. If you are a lawyer or judicial officer working in this field in Sub-Saharan Africa or know of a widows group or law firm undertaking such work, WRI would like to hear from you so that it can build up a repository of good practice and lessons learned and case law. See www.widowsrights.org

If you can assist please contact:

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The following information has been updated from websites across the Commonwealth.

On 18 May 2015, it was reported that Nauru had changed its criminal code by the Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill 2015 which now prohibits language "that is threatening, abusive or insulting in nature and has the intention to stir up racial or religious hatred," adding "political hatred" to the clause. If such language is used it can now trigger criminal proceedings: http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2015/May/05-18-02.htm

On 1 May 2015, the Nauru government banned Facebook. The President claims that this was done to protect the Islanders from accesssing pornographic sites. This now means that there is no independent media on the island. Foreign journalists are required to pay an exhorbitant visa fee to go to Nauru. See Pacific Islands Report: http://pidp.eastwestcenter.org/pireport/2015/May/05-01-11.htm

Former Chief Magistrate Peter Law decried the decline in democracy in Nauru: http://pidp.org/pireport/2015/May/05-14-07.htm

On 15 May the Australian Senate passed the Norfolk Island Legislation Amendment Act re-establishing Australia's authority over the island this despite a referendum which took place earlier this year in which the Norfolk Islanders agreed to retain the status quo. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-32028175

See also: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/australiaandthepacific/australia/11599407/Australia-strips-Norfolk-Island-of-independence.html

Justice Ramodibedi was suspended as Chief Justice on 11 May 2015 http://allafrica.com/stories/201505112740.html

The CMJA, CLA and CLEA issued a statement calling on the government to respect due process - see above. The International Commision of Jurists (ICJ) issued a statement on the situation: http://www.icj.org/swaziland-arrest-of-judges-raises-serious-concerns/

The CMJA cooperated with the ICJ on a mission to examine the situation on Swaziland in early May: http://allafrica.com/stories/201505180682.html.

The Southern African Chief Justices Forum (SACJF) issued a statement https://www.newsday.co.zw/2015/04/24/sacjf-slams-judges-arrest-in-swaziland/

On 21 April 2015, arrest warrants were issued for the arrest of justice minister Sibusiso Shongwe and two judges, Mphendulo Simelane and Jacobus Annandale, and Chief Justice Michael Ramodibedi. The two high court judges were bailed whilst the Chief Justice has locked himself in his residency and has refused to move.


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September 2015
At its meeting on 18th September, the CMJA General Assembly pased two resolutions:

Resolution on the Lack of Suffiicent Resources in the Courts- Click here to read the resolution

Resolution on the tribunal set up to impeach four judges: The CMJA General Assembly resolved to invite Council to consider a statement on the suspension and setting up of a tribunal to investigate the misbehaviour of four high court judges. Click here for the statement issued on 3 October 2015

The CMJA General Assembly also elected their new President on 18th September and the Regional Meetings held on 15th September elected Regional Council Members. The Hon. John Lowndes, Chief Magistrate of the Northern Territory, Australia took over as President of the CMJA. Click here for the list of current Council Members.

August 2015
The Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter Exhibtion is now in Malaysia since 27 July 2015- it is at the Kuala Lumpur Court and then wil be going to Penang. Follow the route on the CLA website. Click here to follow progress.

July 2015
On 1 July 2015, LA, CLEA, CMJA issue a statement on the failure of the South African State to abide by court orders for the arrest of Al-Bashir in line with their ICC obligations.

June 2015
The Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter Exhibtion is now in Malawi at the Parliament Building in Lilongwe, Malawi until 10 July 2015. Follow the route on the CLA website. Click here to follow progress.

May 2015
Justice Charles Mkandawire, Regional Vice President for East, Central and Southern Africa and ICJ Commissioner, participated in the ICJ mission to Swaziland (supported by the CMJA) following the arrests and suspension of the Chief Justice and Justices Simelane and Annadale in April. A full report will be available in due course but the mission found deep flaws in the justice system: http://www.icj.org/swaziland-mission-finds-deep-flaws-in-justice-system/

The Magna Carta to Commonwealth Charter Exhibition was in Osgoode Hall, Toronto from 4-14 May. a

April 2015
On 23 April 2015, LA, CLEA, CMJA issue a statement on the arrests of the Chief Justice of Swaziland and Justice Simelane and Justice Annadale.

The CMJA Secretary General also participated in the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Cybersecurity Forum held in London on "Securing Cyberspace for Economic and Social Development". She participated as one of the panellists on the Commonwealth's response to Cybercrime.

The CMJA Secretary General participated in the Commonwealth Law Conference held in Glasgow from 12-16 April 2015. She spoke in the session on Model Form of Judicial Appointments. A copy of her speech is available from the CMJA secretariat.

February 2015
We were very sad to learn of the passing of the Chairperson of the Gender Section and Hon. Life Vice President, Mrs Clover Thompson Gordon who was a dedicated member of Council for many years. She will be sadly missed by all of us.

December 2014
22 December 2014: CLA, CLEA, CMJA issue a statement on the Strike of Judicial Officers and Staff in Malawi.

16 December 2014: CLA, CLEA, CMJA issue statement on the Amendment to the Judicature Act and subsequent removal of Chief Justice Faiz and Justice Adnan from the Supreme Court of the Maldives.


Previous reports : Click here




The Commonwealth Legal
Information Institute

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