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The Judiciary- The Third Arm Of Government in Sierra Leone
By the Office of the Master & Registrar of the High Court
Dec 12, 2008, 17:18
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The Judiciary is the 3rd Arm of Government. Like most democratic governments, Sierra Leone has 3 Arms of Government namely: the Executive, headed by the President, the Legislature (Parliament), headed by the Speaker of Parliament and the Judiciary headed by the Chief Justice.

Her Ladyship, the Honourable Chief Justice, Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh

Each arm plays distinct functions and works without interference from the other. The judiciary is responsible for interpreting the Laws as passed by Parliament, adjudicating on cases and ensures proper administration of justice throughout the country.

The Judiciary derives its authority from Section 120 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone which provides "inter alia" that:

1. "The judicial power of Sierra Leone shall be vested in the Judiciary of which the Chief Justice shall be the head".
2. "The judiciary shall have jurisdiction in all matters, Civil and Criminal, including matters relating to this Constitution".

Subsection 3 endorses the independence of the Judiciary by providing that:-
3. In the exercise of its judicial functions, the judiciary shall be subject to only this Constitution or any other law and shall not be subject to the control or direction of any other person or authority.

The Judiciary of Sierra Leone has developed a strategic plan to enable it fulfill its mandate. The plan clearly states the vision and mission of the judiciary. The vision of the judiciary is: "to build a modernized, strong, independent, well resourced and accountable judiciary in Sierra Leone."

Its core values are:-

Integrity - to gain and maintain public trust and confidence by ensuring:

i) that the public is consistently assured that decisions are made fairly,
11) that members of the Judiciary and all court staff adhere to the highest ethical standards,
111) that court processes are transparent and
1v) that the court records are accurate.

Quality Public Service- as an institution dedicated to the administration of justice, the judiciary seeks to design processes to meet the needs of court users be developing a user-focused approach to the development of its services with emphasis on accessibility, quality and timely delivery of services.

Learning and Innovation- the judiciary recognizes that to be regarded with the highest esteem, it needs to continually improve it and its processes, this necessitates increased training and continuing education at all levels as well as innovative solutions to complex problems especially in the context of limited resources.

The Judiciary continues to work towards ensuring improved and speedier justice delivery and access to justice for all.

In performing its functions and achieving its goals, the judiciary works in close collaboration with the two arms of government as well as with other stakeholders within the justice sector based on the principle of the three Cs. These are:- Cooperation, Coordination and Communication, without however compromising its independence and impartiality.

The judiciary continues to forge ahead to achieve its primary mandate of: QUALITY JUSTICE FOR ALL.

© Copyright by Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown, Sierra Leone.

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