Magistrates tipped on judgements


Chief Justice Andrew Nyirenda has advised magistrates to make judgements that are within their legal powers.

His admonition comes following reports that some lay magistrates in remote areas deliver judgements, which are beyond their jurisdictions.

He gave the advice in Blantyre on Thursday when he was opening a workshop for magistrates on the implication of limitations of the jurisdictions of magistrates on access to justice for the vulnerable groups.


He told the lay magistrates to desist from presiding over matters that are beyond their jurisdiction.

“This includes the tendency by some lay magistrates to impose irregular consecutive sentences,” said Nyirenda.

Since the civil and criminal jurisdiction of magistrates varies according to the class of court, he said challenges may arise in attending to certain matters immediately which may necessitate a transfer to a magistrate of a higher grade.


Nyirenda said there’s need to set up systems that will allow the Judiciary to develop and set targets for every magistrate, judge and member of staff which will assist in improving performance and at the same time assist in achieving professionalism and accountability.

He said the Judiciary leadership is committed to conducting institutional assessments and mobilising resources aimed at developing and strengthening the infrastructure for magistrates and other judicial officers.

Chairperson of the Judicial Training Committee Justice Chifundo Kachale said the training was aimed at giving guidance on some of the challenges magistrates face when discharging their duties.

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