Friday, November 21, 2008

New Senior Magistrate Sworn In

Mrs Samia Govinden was sworn in as the new Senior Magistrate by Chief Justice Perera on Friday, 14th November 2008. She will now sit before the Magistrate's "A" court in Victoria.

Prior to this appointment, Mrs Govinden was serving as a Magistrate in the "B" court of Victoria. The move comes after the former Senior Magistrate's contract was not renewed.

Mrs Govinden graduated from the University of Mauritius and completed the Mauritian Bar exams. She had served previously as a State Counsel and then as the Registrar General.

The Magistrates deal with lesser criminal offences and civil suits where the amounts claimed does not exceed SR 25,000. The key differences between a Magistrate and the Senior Magistrate is that the Senior Magistrate may pronounced custodial sentences of up to 10 years imprisonment whilst a Magistrate may pronouned custodial sentences of up to only 7 years imprisonment. Furthermore, by convention, the Senior Magistrate also assumes the roles of Chairman of the Juvenile Court and the Rent Control Board.

Mrs Govinden becomes the first Seychellois woman Senior Magistrate but contrary to the Nation, she is not the first Seychellois woman Magistrate. Furthermore, her appointment does not help clear the backlog of cases as although she will now take on all the cases before the "A" court, she also leaves behind the bulk of cases that were set before her in the Magistrate's "B" court. As the situation stands, another Magistrate will have to be appointed to fill up the "B" court vacancy.

The Robing Room is the official blog of the Seychelles Legal Environment Website (, the only website about the Seychelles Legal Environment that is constantly updated.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Local Media announces appointment of a Sri Lankan as Supreme Court Judge

The local media has announced that a Sri Lankan national, Mohan Niranjit Burhan has been appointed as a Supreme Court Judge.

Mr Burhan is not new to the Seychelles Legal scene as he served as a Magistrate previously. The Nation has also stated that Mr Burhan is presently a High Court Judge in Sri Lanka.

His announced appointment is a welcome move with regards to helping clear the backlog of cases. Many litigants and lawyers complain about how slowly cases are progressing in the Seychelles' courts. The appointment of a Supreme Court judge comes after much delay as a court room has been vacant since former Chief Justice Alleear resigned in January this year (10 months ago). The word was that there was much disagreement behind the scenes on who should be elevated to the Supreme Court.

Mr Burhan's appointment however shows a worrying trend. In the past month and a half, the last 3 appointments to the judiciary have been foreign nationals, this despite the fact that there are able and capable Seychellois who could have been appointed to these posts. The matter is further compounded by the economic difficulties that Seychelles is going through. With the 'lack' of foreign exchange in the country and the fact that foreign workers are allowed foreign exchange allocations, which they inevitably send overseas, the further recruitment of foreign workers where it is not necessary, goes against the macro-economic programme that this country is supposed to be following.

The Robing Room is the official blog of the Seychelles Legal Environment Website (, the only website about the Seychelles Legal Environment that is constantly updated.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Download a copy of the Seychelles Constitution

Although it is virtually impossible to obtain a hard copy of the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles, you may download a scanned copy of it through the Government's web portal - [04/05/2011 Update: The website is no longer offering free downloads of the Constitution]

The local press has been frequently calling upon the public to submit their comments on the Constitution to a review board. At least now the public that has access to the internet can get a copy of the Constitution.

For those fearful of further price hikes/taxes/costs, it may please you to know that the Constitution guarantees at least 10 years of free schooling (Article 33: Right to Education) and free primary health care (Article 29: Right to Health Care) (but what exactly is "primary health care"?).

Article 91 provides that the above articles may only be altered through a referendum with at least 60% of the votes cast.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Two Magistrate's sworn in over the past month

The past month has seen the swearing in of two new magistrates.

The Nation announced that Charles Maximilian Magesa from Tanzania was sworn in in early October as the new Magistrate of the Anse Royale and Praslin courts and Augustine Karichuba Rwile, also from Tanzania, was sworn in earlier this month as the new "D" court Magistrate of Victoria.

Also in the past month, two State Counsels have left the Attorney General's Office to join the private bar.

The Robing Room is the official blog of the Seychelles Legal Environment Website (, the only website about the Seychelles Legal Environment that is constantly updated.