Last Friday, 21st August, Frederick Egonda-Ntende was sworn in before the President of the Republic of Seychelles as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Seychelles. This comes after the post was vacated in May earlier this year by former Chief Justice Ranjan Perera. In the interim, Judge Bernadin Renaud was appointed Acting Chief Justice.
The appointment of Egonda-Ntende brings a certain sense of direction to a judiciary that is under fire from the public and international observers. The Court of Appeal aside, cases move too slowly before the courts, a problem contributed to by a number of factors but ultimately the blame lies with the judiciary, as highligted recently in a workshop held in early August, organized by the UNDP and UNODC in which many, if not virtually all stakeholders (present were Justices of Appeal, members of the Bar, the Police etc) were invited and asked to be frank by the UN members.
The judiciary also suffers from a reputation for lack of efficiency, corruption and partiality. The new Chief Justice, in a statement to usher in his appointment, has stated that he will work to turn the Seychelles judiciary into a centre of excellence in the region. Only time will tell if he may accomplish this and what he does in the next few months will determine whether there is hope again for the judiciary, where there is none.
The Robing Room is the official blog of the Seychelles Legal Environment Website (sites.google.com/site/theseychelleslegalenvironment), the only website about the Seychelles Legal Environment that is constantly updated.