A Tanzanian online news website - The Citizen, has reported that the Seychelles Judiciary intends to source for judges and lawyers from Tanzania. The article may be read by clicking here.
The article states that Seychelles intends to bring in Tanzanian legal personnel to help in its fight against piracy. The article quotes Seychelles Chief Justice Egonda-Ntende as stating that Seychelles needs more judges. However, the source for the need for more lawyers is not stated.
Recently, the Nation advertised vacancies for two Magistrates. The Robing Room has also learned that several attorneys have been approached for these posts but most, if not all, have not shown serious interest. Although the salary of Magistrates have become more competitive, their work schedule is hectic and they do not have much of the perks that most, if not all judges and justices are allowed e.g. car and chauffeur, apparent unlimited fuel allowance, security personnel. Some attorneys are also concerned that there is no guarantee of any career progression were they to accept a post of a Magistrate. It has been noted that the very best Magistrates, especially those that show independence from the executive, are never elevated to the Supreme Court or Court of Appeal.
With regards to lawyers, there are strict rules prescribed by law on being able to practice in Seychelles. Apart from three very particular circumstances (the ad hoc court advocate, the State Counsel/Public Prosecutor and the distasteful international business legal advisor), one will have to possess the necessary qualifications and undergo a two year pupillage at an approved law chamber in order to qualify as an attorney-at-law and practice law in Seychelles. There can be no short-cuts on the law when it comes to qualifying. No other country allows it. And it would be another poorly planned venture of the Government if they sought to change the law to allow foreigners to qualify more easily (or even automatically) as Seychelles attorneys and then simultaneously invest into the University of Seychelles to train tomorrow's attorneys, magistrates and judges, and the Robing Room has learned that there will be about 30 students enrolling into the University of Seychelles' law degree programme (in fact it is the University of London External LLB programme), which is to commence this October. Yep, let's train a large number of lawyers, take up at least 4 years of their lives doing so, and then there'll be no work for them later thanks to all these foreigners.
And some wonder why xenophobia is in the air...
Luckily, the last time an elite few tried to change the law on qualifying as a Seychelles attorney, making it even easier for foreigners rather than Seychellois to qualify as Seychelles attorneys, the Bar Association of Seychelles and certain powers in the Government put a stop to such nonsense.
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.