The Registrar and Master of the High Court Michael Motlhabi has reiterated the need to establish a High Court Division in Maun.
Motlhabi was addressing Regional Magistrates, Chief Magistrates and Heads of Magisterial Stations at Majestic Five Hotel in Palapye last Thursday.
Motlhabi said this follows a paper presented by the Law Society of Botswana at the 2015 Judicial Conference, which highlighted the need for a High Court in Maun to deal with issues of costs and access to justice.
“Attorneys travel long distances on Pro Deo cases to High Court Division in Francistown, blowing the Pro Deo vote within a very short period of time,” he noted, explaining that the proposal for such an establishment was temporarily suspended for further consultations but is now back on the table.
Motlhabi further said there will be more engagements with stakeholders on the need to establish such a division to cover Maun, Gumare, Shakawe, Kasane and Ghanzi.
“We need to deploy necessary resources for the establishment of the court. The time has come to establish this division to deal with case backlog.”
Meanwhile, Motlhabi also touched on the need to revamp specialised courts such as Small Claims Courts and Children’s Courts. Small Claims Courts were established in 2009 and piloted in Francistown and Gaborone
He said there’s a need for Small Claims Courts to be rolled out beyond the current two centres, to include Maun, Ghantsi, Jwaneng, Palapye and Selebi Phikwe.
“The greater demand for the use of these courts by ordinary Batswana has created a dire need to review the sum of P10, 000 (the maximum penalty the court can currently inflict) and increase it to P30, 000,” he said.
Motlhabi further said local courts are not user friendly to the victims particularly children.
“It is with this in mind that we seek to resuscitate our partnership with UNICEF on child friendly Courts,” he added, noting the judiciary need to benchmark and come up with guidelines on children and vulnerable groups.
“We need to meet UNICEF to resuscitate the initiative and convene Stakeholders Workshop on Children’s Act,” he concluded.