Speaking during the launch of the Improving Access to Justice in The Gambia Project organised by the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO) at Ocean Bay, Justice Jallow emphasised that the National Law Reform Commission was set up with the objective of keeping a systematic review of the laws and rules which are applicable in The Gambia with the view of modernizing and making them more relevant.
“For more than a decade, not much has come out of the commission but we need to approach the business of law reforms in a more organised and systematic way, rather than in an art of fashion,” he said.
He pointed out that another important intervention in the judicial system is strengthening the National Council for Law Report. Chief Justice Jallow further revealed that the country’s legal system is very much dependent on the availability of law reports.
The veteran lawyer reiterated that for more than a decade, there has been no new published law report of The Gambia and this, he said, makes work difficult for lawyers, judges and ultimately for litigants.
“As we look forward to implementing the recommendation of the TRRC, which has been accepted by the government, ensuring accountability for past crimes is very critical and necessary in order to provide justice,” he stated.
He also pointed out the need to ensure there is peace, stability and respect for the rule of law in the country, describing the rule of law as crucial to everyone.
He stated that the government must do all it could to ensure that the recommendations of the TRRC, including those relating to accountability are enforced.
“One of the challenges for access to justice is access to legal representation,” he asserts. “As our legal system becomes more dependent on lawyers and the content of illiteracy and low income, the ability of litigant and accused persons to access lawyers for legal advice and support become much more critical, particularly with regard to those charged with criminal offences.”
He said further that the Access to Justice Project could look at the possibility of broadening and strengthening the capacity of the National Council for Legal Assistants, adding that the council has a crucial role in promoting access to justice.