Malawi lawyers stage march in support of court strike

Malawi law society today staged marches country-wide in support of the ongoing judicial strike that has affected the rule of law in the country.

In a show of solidarity, lawyers dressed in their court wigs, gowns and flaps, staged marches around court premises in the capital Lilongwe, Blantyre and Mzuzu to push the office of the president and cabinet to act and implement the promised salaries.

In 2006, authorities approved revised terms of and conditions of service of junior members of staff in the judiciary to comply with the Judicature Administrative Act.

But this has not been implemented in full to-date hence the strike, which is now in its third week.

The lawyers noted that the strike has affected the right to access the courts in furtherance of civil or criminal justice; the right to an effective remedy; and right to economic activity.

“The law society notes with great concern the negative effect of the strike…on the rule of law, good governance, and human rights generally,” the lawyers said in a statement signed by their president John Gift Mwakhwawa and Jabbar Alide, the secretary.

The lawyers said the revisions that the junior staff are demanding are legal because the revisions are made under the authority of law as opposed to policy.

“The executive must note that the revision is a legal obligation and not merely a policy intervention…,” the lawyers said in a statement.

The judicial officers have vowed not to call off the strike unless their revised terms and conditions of service are implemented in full.