The Acting Chief Justice of Lesotho, the woman who recently brought a hall full of African judges to their feet with applause as she explained the difficult circumstances under which judges and magistrates in that country operate, is on notice that she is fighting for her professional life. Judge Maseforo Mahase says ‘powerful forces’ in Lesotho want her impeached. Though three local judges have been appointed to hear the case that will decide whether an impeachment tribunal should be set up to investigate allegations against her, she says the three – plus the entire high court bench of judges – should recuse themselves and that foreign judges should be asked to hear the matter.
Decision by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to suspend Parliament was ‘unlawful’
For a South African watching Lady Hale in the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom this morning, delivering a judgment that had the unanimous support of 11 justices – the maximum that may sit together in a case – there was something familiar about it.
We have become used to our courts finding that the executive or legislature has acted unconstitutionally and setting aside even major government decisions. But for MPs and ordinary members of the public in the UK, this was something exceedingly rare. Commentators pointed to the ‘robust language’ of the court’s decision, and said how surprising it was to find the court in complete unanimity in such a matter.
Sluggish counsel taken to task
AG v Registrar of the High Court & Ors High Court, Lesotho
Judge Charles Hungwe
Judge Charles Hungwe of Zimbabwe has agreed to hear some high-profile and politically-charged criminal cases in Lesotho. In a recent application preliminary to the start of the actual trial, he took the occasion to point out certain shortcomings in the behaviour of local counsel and to indicate that he would not let this continue under his watch.
As has become the norm with legal practitioners in this court, the timelines were neglected.
South Africa’s ‘Green Scorpions’ would seem to punch well above their weight – if you consider the stats in the recent national environmental compliance report.
Two significant official reports were issued last week. One, with national crime statistics, came from the South African Police Service. The other came from the department of environment, forestry and fisheries in the form of its 2018/19 national environmental compliance and enforcement report.
If you study the SAPS report you will spot a section on environmental crime. This, however, consists only of stats on poaching: rhino, abalone and so on. Other kinds of environmental crime are published in the compliance report, released at an environmental conference in Kimberley last week.
Kenya’s National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has been given a tough lesson in obeying the country’s environmental laws by the National Environmental Tribunal. The NEMA had given the go-ahead for a major sewerage works to be built close to a stream and a natural wetland, all of this despite objections by the local community. Now the tribunal has found that the NEMA and other parties had not properly followed the law before the project was started. The tribunal has ordered that everything related to the project must be demolished and removed, while the local soil, plants and other natural features must be restored.