Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It is of no use having outdated laws on our statute book

Law reflects the current status quo or political, cultural and socio-economic tempo of an independent sovereign state or society, the Chairman of the Law Reform Commission Dr Henry D. R. Carrol has said.
“Law is not promulgated or enacted in a vacuum. Society is dynamic and not static; it is constantly undergoing a metamorphosis, for good or for evil.” He made this statement at the Official Launching of the Revised Laws of The Gambia at the Ministry of Justice in Banjul on Feb. 11, 2011.

As society changes, he stressed that it is mandatory and imperative for the laws of the land to be reviewed or reformed. This, he said will reflect the noble ideals and inspirations of a given society. 
“It is of no legal use to continue having old, obsolete or archaic laws on our statute book. Once a law has outlived its usefulness, logic and sense dictate that it must be reviewed, reformed or repealed in order to ensure and enhance a more efficient justice delivery system,” he said.
Dr. Carrol explained that laws of the Gambia were embodied in nine brown volumes, last revised in 1990. Now the revised laws of the Gambia are encapsulated in sixteen green volumes, meaning that eight law volumes have now been added to the laws of the Gambia (The Gambia’s Statute Book).
The revised or reformed status book of the Gambia contains Acts or statutes which were promulgated by the then parliament of the first republic, some of the decrees of the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council (AFPRC), and acts or statutes, which have been promulgated, by the present National Assembly of the Second Republic.
According to him, some of the AFPRC Decrees are indeed part and parcel of the laws of The Gambia. Stating that section 7 (A) and (C) of the 1997 Constitution says “In addition to this constitution, the laws of the Gambia consist of: Acts of the National Assembly, made under this constitution, and subsidiary legislation, made under such Acts. The existing laws, including all Decrees passed by the Armed Forces Provisional Ruling Council.
He said the legal relationship between the National Constitution and the AFPRC Decrees can be fittingly compared with the legal relationship between equity and common law. The well known legal principle, laid down by locus clasicus was called THE EARLY OF OXFORD CASE, is that where equity and common law conflict, equity shall prevail.
“In the same vein, where the National Constitution and an AFPRC Decree conflict, the National Constitution shall prevail. Equity and Common Law are also part and parcel of the Laws of the Gambia,” he said.Source: The Voice

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