QUESTION OF THE DAY
In the past, the appointment of judges provided by the Commonwealth or friendly countries like Nigeria on the basis of bilateral or multilateral cooperation agreements has made it difficult to have substantive holders of the Office of Chief Justice. Consequently, many judges leave as soon as their contracts end.
The challenge before President Barrow, which will enable him to make history, is to appoint a Chief Judge who will remain in office until he or she attains pensionable age as provided by Section 141 (4) of the Constitution on the Tenure of office of judges which states:
“The Chief Justice, a Justice of the Supreme Court, the of Appeal and the High Court and members of the Special Criminal court may only be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of his or her judicial office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, or for misconduct.”
He will make history if he appoints a Gambian as a substantive holder of the post and give him or her all the protection to ensure his or her independence.
The qualifications required to be Chief Justice states in section 139(1):
“A person shall be qualified for appointment as Chief Justice if he or she is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court and has been a judge of a superior court in a common law country for not less than ten years.”