Tanzania: Samia Lauds Court Efficacy

  • Emphasises arbitration for speedy justice dispensation
  • Commends case backlog decrease

DODOMA: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has commended the judiciary for reducing case backlogs. She emphasised the importance of expeditious justice dispensation through dispute arbitration to uphold peace and attract investments.

Dr Samia made these remarks on Thursday in Dodoma, where she attended the Law Day celebration at Chinangali Park.

“What I want to re-emphasise is the acceleration of the hearing of commercial cases. When we attract investors, it brings about legal issues and commercial disputes. It is good for our courts to give importance to this type of case as well,” Dr Samia said.

Acknowledging a decrease in case delays, President Samia commended the judiciary for implementing mediation measures to expedite proceedings.

The Head of State emphasised that the sixth-phase administration has opened up the country to regional and international investment and business.

She highlighted the importance of ensuring that investors have confidence in the protection of their interests.

Dr Samia stressed the need to adhere to Article 107(a) subsection (2) (a-e) of the Tanzanian constitution, which prioritises justice for all and the avoidance of delays and excessive technical conditions. She specifically emphasised the importance of arbitration.

“If we strictly implement this clause, it means that we will avoid postponing proceedings and spending a long time in court dealing with technical issues and endless objections. By opting for arbitration, we can put an end to all of this,” she asserted.

Using the occasion, President Samia directed the Ministry of Constitutional and Legal Affairs to fully implement the legal aid delivery system in compliance with current regulations.

She urged support from those affected by civil rights and emphasised that legal aid is an investment in social justice, not an expense.

“While we work on improving the criminal justice system, we must also focus on strengthening the civil justice system to address delays in case processing. Cases in district and resident courts can take up to 12 months, while High Court cases might take up to 24 months before a verdict is rendered,” she noted.

President Samia highlighted the government’s commitment to addressing these challenges, with a small team already working on implementing recommendations from the criminal justice committee. The Law Day marks the beginning of a new judicial calendar year.

Speaking about the Mama Samia Legal Aid campaign launched the previous year, the president reported its positive reception, reaching over 383,000 people and resolving 511 disputes.

The campaign identified prevalent social issues in areas such as land, marriage, child care, inheritance, sexual violence and civil justice.

Dr Samia advocated for arbitration as a means to strengthen litigation rights and urged legal aid centres and the Law School to expedite training professionals in the arbitration industry.

She encouraged collaboration with arbitration stakeholders to identify areas for improvement and the possibility of enacting an arbitration policy.

President Samia urged lawyers to recognise the opportunity presented by arbitration, stating, “It is time now for the nation of Tanzania to embrace it.”

She reiterated the government’s emphasis on the importance of courts not being bound by technical conditions and encouraged the use of arbitration.

In addition to investments in Information Communication Technology (ICT), President Samia highlighted the government’s efforts to strengthen the performance of the courts by constructing modern integrated justice centres and increasing the number of workers when the budget allows.

“The umber of Court of Appeal judges has increased from 16 in 2021 to 35 judges in 2023, an increase of 118 per cent. In the same period, the number of high court judges has increased from 63 to 105, and resident judges from 1,098 to 1,146,” she said.

In 2023, the arbitration centre was able to mediate over 64 out of 354 disputes registered in 2022.

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