Sunday, January 29

Retired Barrister Janneh advises young legal practitioners

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Barrister Janneh made this statement on Sunday during an exclusive interview with this reporter at his chambers at Kairaba Avenue.

Barrister Janneh, former chairman of Janneh Commission, said so many young lawyers have passed through his chambers, and some of them have been in the Supreme Court, some at the Gambia court of Appeal and some are successful as private legal practitioners today.

“So I had tremendous experience in the field of legal practice. Although I started as a master and registrar of the Supreme Court, and in The Gambia, when I started, there was no course for specialisation, because during that time, we didn’t have either criminal or civil matters, but now you have lot of them.

He said in bigger countries, you would have more specialisation. “Some would tend to do criminal matters and some tend to do civil matters.

In my younger days, I did a lot of criminal laws, but as we go along, there would be a lot of specialisation in many aspects of the law, not even only in the civil law, but as well as the criminal law.”

According to Barrister Janneh, the rule of the high court is a big legislation, not done by parliament, but parliament gave the authority for the rules committee to build up the rules of the high court. “So courts are governed chiefly by rules.”

“For a young lawyer just from the college, they seem to be very confused because you have a lot of pages to read, so I advise them to read once, twice, and the third time, you begin to understand the rules. Once you understand the deeper of the rules, then you are ready for practice. If you don’t have the understanding, you would only lead yourself to confusion.”

Barrister Janneh further advised young legal practitioners to be honest whenever they are dealing with their clients because you would deal with a lot of money which belong to people.

“In the course of my practice, millions of millions have passed through my hand, and I am happy to say even over fifty years, nobody has pointed a finger at me for touching their monies in any improper form. That’s a matter of pride to me, and it would be a matter of great concern to all young lawyers. Leave your client’s money alone.”

Dilating on the improvement of the judiciary, Barrister Janneh explained that for the judiciary to be improved, the delayance of cases have to be reduced, adding that the delay of the judiciary system and people have come up with all sorts of ideas. “And I believe the delay is caused not only by government itself, but sometime by judges or lawyers, or sometime even by clients. The absence of an interpreter also contributes – so all of them have their share in the delay of cases.”

Once they look into a certain aspect, all these elements, government, lawyers, the judges and even the clients themselves, because the language of the court is English and since a lot of people cannot speak English, you need to have an interpreter. The absence of an interpreter can delay a case.”