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‘Delayed justice affects business’

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Industry captains have lamented effects of delayed judgments by the commercial division of the High Court, saying it is slowing businesses in the country.

Group Chief Executive for conglomerate Press Corporation Limited, George Partridge, made the observation during the launch of the Commercial Bar (Combar) Association in Blantyre on Thursday.

Partridge said it was sad that the Commercial Court has almost forgotten its commitment of delivering judgments within 90 days after lawyers have presented their submissions.

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“Delayed judgments cost us money. You cannot make a decision because you are waiting for a judgment. That is why I am saying that the commercial division of the High Court should remember that when the division was being set up there was a service level agreement that judgments would be coming within 90 days after both parties have made their submissions,” he said.

President of the High Court Commercial Division, Justice John Katsala who was also the guest of honour, conceded that sometimes the judgments come late but said the situation is not very bad in Malawi.

He, however, said the Commercial Division of the High Court is doing all it can to stick to the 90 days service level agreement.

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“There are times that we fail to deliver judgments to the satisfactions of the litigants but this is because of a number of challenges we are facing including human resource, but if you ask around you will find that there are times that we have delivered judgments even before the 90 days stipulated by the law,” Katsala said.

On establishment of the association, Katsala said time has come for lawyers to specialise in various fields to provide specialised advice to their clients.

The association has been set up for lawyers who specialise in commercial law to be sharing notes on the practice of the law.

President of the Commercial Lawyers Association, Masauko Msungama, said the association would serve as a platform for like-minded lawyers to engage for furtherance of the profession.

He said Combar is not a counter association of the Malawi Law Society (MLS), saying every lawyer whether a member of Combar or not should be a member of the MLS.

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