judicial independence

Judge Mathilda Twomey of Seychelles to step down as Chief Justice

Unlike many presidents who seek extensions of a constitutionally-mandated limited term of office, the chief justice of Seychelles, Mathilda Twomey, has honoured her commitment to just one five-year term and will step down later this year. Speaking at the opening of the supreme court’s 2020 legal year, the chief justice spoke passionately about judicial independence and the courage required to exercise true independence.

The five-year term of Chief Justice Mathilda Twomey has been tumultuous. As well as the many changes she was determined to make in the way the justice system operated in Seychelles, she had extremely difficult personal challenges to overcome on the Bench.

Tanzanian judges: nowhere to hide under-performance

A new electronic system intended to promote citizens’ rights to access justice and introduced in Tanzania a few months ago, will allow anyone to read decisions almost immediately after delivery. The country’s Chief Justice explained how the system worked to newly-appointed judges at the start of their induction training in Dar Es Salaam this week. In addition to e-filing, the new system will see judgments loaded onto TanzLII immediately they have been handed down.

Tanzania’s judicial leadership has found a new way of keeping up to date with decisions by all members of the bench. As part of a commitment to using technology for improving court efficiency, all judgments will be loaded into the Tanzania Legal Information Institute – TanzLII – section of Tanzania’s judiciary website, immediately they are delivered. That means decisions of Tanzania’s judges will be freely available to the public as well as to judicial leaders for performance appraisal, virtually as they are handed down.

Thai judge shoots himself in court: protest at ‘political interference’

When Thai judge Khanakorn Pianchana reached the end of the judgment in a case he had been hearing, he read out a statement. He next walked from the bench to bow before a portrait of Thai King, Maha Vajiralongkorn. Then he took a pistol from his pocket and shot himself. He was immediately rushed to hospital where he is now reported as out of danger. But what caused the judge to take such dramatic and potentially fatal action?

The case before Judge Khanakorn Pianchana involved five people charged with offences including murder, illegal association and certain gun-related offences. They were arrested two months after the shooting of five people in the remote Bannang Sata district. Three of the accused were charged with the murders and the remaining two with being accomplices.

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