Judiciary of Sierra Leone through the Judicial and Legal Training Institute (JLTI), with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) has organised nationwide professional training for all Magistrates on management and administration of Court cases; Managing ethics and integrity issues at Magistrates’ Courts; Jurisdiction of Magistrates’ Courts; Management and administration on the adjudication of Local Court appeal cases; Adjudication of Small Claims Commercial Court and the feedback on the justice case management Application.
In his presentation on the adjudication of Small Claims Commercial Court, the Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards said the progress made after the setting up of the Fast Track Commercial Court necessitated the setting up of the Small Claims Commercial Court at the Magistrates’ Courts to handle claims below Fifty Thousand Leones (new currency) expeditiously without sacrificing justice.
“The objective of this Court is to speedily conclude those matters brought before the Court and adjournments should not be more than 72 hours,” said the Chief Justice, adding that, “it should be expeditious, effective and fair, without fear or favour.”
He called on them to ensure that those matters are completed within a month. The Chief Justice further explained the pre-trial conference and case management conference. He said the Small Claims Commercial Court is among the Specialized Courts established under his watch.
In his power point presentation on the issues on Bail, convictions and sentencing at the Magistrates’ Courts, Supreme Court Judge, Honourable Justice Nicholas Browne-Marke spoke about the methods in bringing criminal cases to Court. He went on to elucidate on Summary Trials and Preliminary Investigations.
Court of Appeal Judge, Honourable Justice Monfred Sesay said the structure of the Court is like a pyramid which is broad at the base and tapers in a hierarchical order to the top. He was lecturing on adjudication of Local Court Appeal Cases.
According to Justice Monfred Sesay, the District Appeal Court is superior to the Local Courts but inferior to the High Court.
“It is of the same status or in the same rank in the hierarchy as Magistrates’ Courts,” he said, noting “it consists of a Magistrate of the Judicial District sitting with two Assessors selected by the Magistrate from a list of experts in Customary Law drawn up by the District Officer.”
He said between the Local Courts and the Supreme Court are the Magistrates’ Courts or District Appeal Court, High Court and the Court of Appeal.
Presentations were also done by Supreme Court Judge, Honourable Justice Alusine Sesay and Court of Appeal Judges, Honourable Justices Reginald Fynn and Komba Kamanda.