Friday, January 22, 2010

Judges, the Registar and State Counsel - What's Up?

There is much talk in the Robing Room (and everywhere else) on who may be appointed to the Supreme Court bench, even the current bench, in open court, has already indicated that there will be new appointments in the next few weeks.

What will be interesting to see are the courtrooms of the new judges, in particular, where will they be located? The Supreme Court Building does not seem to have any more space for courtrooms, or even judges' chambers. Maybe the Magistrates will have to move over? Never mind, I guess the courts are used to being inadequate: Court files are often missing, leading to the frustration of the progress of certain cases; copies of judgments/orders take ages to be typed, and then a little bit more time just to have them printed, and then add a little bit more time just for them to be delivered to the litigants.

To make matters worse, the court has now been without a Registrar since early January. Previously, Mr Melchior Vidot served as Master & Registrar, but he was removed as the Registrar and in came the new Registrar Ms Jenny Adrienne. But she left the post very shortly after taking it up. The Registrar is the person in charge of the day-to-day administration of the courts, but the Registrar also has to tend to certain legal matters. It is therefore imperative that the Registrar has some background in court processes. The Registrar should therefore be someone who has had significant exposure to the courts and its processes.

It will be interesting to see who the new Supreme Court Judge(s) and Registrar will be.

In the meantime, the Attorney General's Office has just lost two more State Counsel and those left are scrambling to cope with their own workload in addition to the workload of those who have left. It is now such a common sight to see a case of the Government or the Republic being called out in court and no one from the Attorney General's Office knows which State Counsel is in charge of the case and what is happening in the case. It is very difficult for the State to seek to convict an accused person of an offence beyond reasonable doubt when they first have to discern, on a balance of probabilities, what is happening in the case. The problem is that so many State Counsel come and go and when one leaves, they are not made to brief remaining State Counsel of their cases and concerns. A system must be put in place and the office will have to get their act together.

Once again, only time will tell how things will pan out.

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.

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