Judiciary Administration Bill: Parliament Wants Functions of Judiciary, JSC Spelt Out

Justices of the Supreme Court.

Parliament through the Committee on Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has advised government to clarify on the intentions of the Judiciary Administration Bill, 2018 which seemingly seeks to de-link the Judiciary from the Judicial Services Commission.

The call was made in the committee report on the Bill which was presented to the House in May 2018 by government.

The objective of the Bill is to give effect to Chapter Eight of the Constitution relating to the Judiciary, to provide for the efficient and effective administration of the Judiciary.

It also intends to establish the Judiciary Advisory Committee to advise the Chief Justice on the administration of justice and the courts, to establish a Judiciary Service within the Judiciary.

The Bill seeks to strengthen the independence of the Judiciary by streamlining the provision and management of funds for the Judiciary and establishing structures within the Judiciary to improve the performance of the Judiciary and to provide for retirement benefits of Judicial Officers.

The Committee chaired by West Buddama South MP, Jacob Oboth Oboth observed that it appears that the Bill seeks to elevate the Judiciary and make it independent of the Judicial Service Commission and place it under the management of the Chief Justice.

“This observation is based on the powers the Bill proposes to bestow on the Chief Justice as evidenced in clauses 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 75, 17, 19 and 20. These clauses grant certain powers to the chief Justice that would ordinarily be exercised by the Judicial Service Commission,” reads the report in part.

The report notes that for instance, the Bill provides for the power to create, classify, change and abolish offices in the judiciary, the creation of the judicial service within the judiciary and the creation of judiciary fund.

“Whereas it appears that the intention of the Bill is to de-link the judiciary from the Judicial Service Commission, this should clearly be spelt out in the Bill so that there is a harmonization of the functions of the Judicial Service Commission and those proposed to be bestowed on the Chief Justice”.

“This will ensure that the provisions of the Constitution, especially on the functioning of the Judicial Service Commission, are respected and adhered to”.

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