Opinion, Uncategorized

Perception of country’s judicial system essential for dev.

By Abdoulie John
Mr Cherno S. Jallow Q.C. and former Attorney General of the British Virgin Islands, has called for a public-private legal practice partnership as a way of enhancing smooth participatory development. Mr Jallow who was speaking in an expose that deals with the topic “Legal Practice in the Gambia: Opportunities for Growth and Development”, stressed the link between the general perception of a country’s judicial system and its impact on development. According to Jallow “The subject of growth and development in our legal practice is a public-private sector partnership. As lawyers, we need the Government as much as the Government needs us if we are to attain desired growth not only in our practice, but also in the development of our country.” Cherno S Jallow believes that it is important, to always bear in mind that peoples’ perceptions play a preponderant role in their work. “Whether we know it or not and whether we accept it or not, the reality is, perception means a lot (if not everything) in the practice of the law. The way our judicial system and the dispensation of justice are perceived may impact on us positively or negatively, depending on the perception held.” Urging his colleagues to be proactive in participating actively in the country’s development process, he categorically stated: “We need to come up with ideas (legal and otherwise) for formulating and steering growth in relevant sectors of our economy; at the same time, we need to listen and participate in government that looks at those ideas constructively with the view to taking them forward through the formulation of appropriate policies and the enactment of relevant legislations…” According to him, if small jurisdictions like the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Bermuda and Seychelles have become success stories, it is greatly attributed to the fact that they worked their way through appropriate partnership with the relevant sectors of their communities. Hard work and the formulation and implementation of appropriate policies, he outlined, constitute the cornerstone of their successes. These key elements that help to fulfill judicial roles in the traditional legal system are inextricably linked to a strong judicial system, as a robust and independent judiciary that upholds the law equal to all manner of persons, including the government, is necessary, he said, adding, “At the end of the day serious investors (and, I might add, high net of worth investors) want to be assured that in the unlikely event that they have to engage in litigation in any jurisdiction of their investment.” The Gambia Bar Association Week, scheduled between January 22 and 30 2010, entered its 6th day on Thursday, January 28, 2010, marked by series of presentations at a conference whose theme was “Legal Practice in the 21st Century”. It brought together a variety of resource persons who successively took to the floor and delivered on various topics that essentially focused on two key areas: the maintenance of professional standards, discipline and etiquette; and the maintenance of the honor, independence and integrity of the legal profession.

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