Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Access to justice ends not with the building of new courts

VP Njie-Saidy
Gambia’s Vice President and Minister of Women Affairs Dr. Isatou Njie-Saidy has said that access to justice dose not ends with the construction of new court buildings or the establishment of institution.
“It requires that the law on which the regulation of our interpersonal relationship and the dispensation of justice are based, are accessible to all,” she said.
She was speaking on behalf of President Yahya Jammeh during the official launch of the 2009 Revised Edition of the Laws of The Gambia at the Ministry of Justice on Marina Parade in Banjul on Friday February 11, 2011.

She stressed that laws are not exclusively preserved for members of the legal profession, although in their daily professional activities, they may need them more than others. She said “Laws permeate every stratum of the fabric of society and as part of society itself; they reflect the political, social, economic and cultural realities and the aspirations of the people.”  
Many laws have been repealed, including the abrogation of the 1970 Constitution. New laws have been created for the necessary enabling environment for the socio-economic development of the country. This, she said is in line with government’s development agenda as encapsulated in Vision 2020.
However, she indicated that the volume of new laws and amendments increased over the years and became increasing inaccessible to judges and lawyers. “New Acts, regulations and amendments were scattered in a plethora of gazette publications many of which were in short supply.”
The Attorney General and Minister of Justice Edward Gomez stated that the law revision seeks to improve access to justice by the citizens which he added is an indispensable attribute of democracy and the rule of law.
“We have embarked on various measures aimed at improving our laws with a view to bringing about positive changes in our country’s legal system,” he said. “The duty to respect the law has to be accompanied by the rights of access to the whole spectrum of legal documents in a way that is meaningful to the citizens and enterprises rather than just complying with the formal requirement of being publicly aware.”
Law revision, he said is a mechanism for the development of the law which has been part of “our system since the emergence of our Nation”. However, ideally there should be a Revised Edition of the Laws of The Gambia every ten (10) years.
He revealed that its 20 years since the last publication of a Revised Edition of Laws of The Gambia 1997, and amendments enacted and subsidiary legislation published during the period (1990) were hitherto found scattered in Supplements to Gazettes and Legal Notices accumulating year after year in unincorporated statutory provisions.Source: The Voice

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