MASERU — The High Court has suspended its decision to grant registrars power to preside over uncontested court cases after the Law Society of Lesotho challenged the new policy.
The High Court on Monday gave registrars and assistant registrars the authority to preside over uncontested cases in an effort to help clear the huge backlog of cases in the courts.
The Law Society was not happy with the new arrangement and filed an urgent application in the High Court challenging the plan.
In court papers filed on Wednesday, the society said only judges have the jurisdictional powers to hear cases in the High Court.
It wants the decision to grant registrars powers to handle cases declared invalid.
High Court deputy registrar, Lesitsi Mokeke, on Friday told the Sunday Express that they had suspended the implementation of the decision to allow the courts to deal with the appeal by the Law Society.
“We have decided to suspend the plan pending finalisation of the case,” he said.
“We found it necessary to suspend it (plan) because when there is a case one cannot predict its outcome.
“It is only fair to await the outcome of the case and we will then take it from there.”
Mokeke said the new policy was meant to deal with the huge backlog of cases in the High Court, some of them dating back to as far as the 1990s.
It was also meant to reduce the workload on judges.
“The registrars were only given powers to deal with the uncontested matters,” Mokeke said.
“This was done to reduce the unnecessary workload on the judges.”
When the strategy was implemented on Monday, the registrar of the High Court and Court of Appeal, ‘Mathato Sekoai, presided and disposed of some cases.
Mokeke was also on duty and presided over some of the cases when the Law Society filed its application on Wednesday.
Under the new arrangement, registrars would preside over cases on a rotational basis and would be on call for a week each.
A total of 13 registrars and assistant registrars were expected to be involved in the new strategy.
The High Court is still to set a date to hear the appeal by the Law Society.