The President of the Sierra Leone Bar Association, Michaela Eddinia Swallow has highlighted the challenges facing legal practitioners and expressed concern on the constitutional review process during the Annual Bar Dinner and Awards ceremony organised by the Sierra Leone Bar Association on Friday, 10th December 2021 at the country lodge hotel.
Addressing guests at the dinner including His Excellency the President, First Lady and the Honourable Chief Justice, Ms. Michaela Eddinia Swallow stated that for democracy to flourish the judiciary must be independent and efficient in the administration of justice.
“As a Bar Assciation, whilst we commend the Honourable Chief Justice for the many impressive reforms in the judiciary, practitioners continue to be confronted with many challenges ranging from delayed judgements, long adjournment of matters, the absence of presrcibed fees for execution of judgements to the use of risk assessment by the police to deny litigants of executing validly obtained judgements. I am sure many judges here had once been practitioners and they are all too familiar with these challenges,” Ms Swallow confidently stated.
The President of the Bar Association also used the opportunity to commend His Excellency President Julius Maada Bio on the abolition of the death penalty and other legislative reforms including the repeal of the seditious libel law, the proposed Gender Empowerment Bill and his support for a proposed constitutional amendment to allow dual citizens to be qualified to be elected as members of parliament.
However, Ms Michaela Eddinia Swallow continued, “Let me use this opportunity to state that the Sierra Leone Bar Association is concerned about the Constitutional Review Process and we hope that as a reformer you will usher us a progressive constitution.”
This year’s Bar Association Dinner was climaxed with awards ceremony and the recipients included the Honourable Chief Justice, senior practitioners, pupils, staff members in the judiciary and the Justice sector