By Yankuba Jallow
Cherno Marena, Gambia’s Solicitor General has called on lawyers to put their knowledge and experience into writing for the use of the university and law school.
Marena said both the University of the Gambia and the Gambia Law School use foreign materials in their studies, adding that it is high time that Gambian lawyers publish books for the use of these two institutions.
“I want to challenge and respectfully challenge senior members of the Bar to publish books to be used. Apart from Constitutional Law and Law of Evidence, our law students do not have anything to rely on. They rely on foreign books in their studies. We (the Ministry) are thinking of coming up with incentives to encourage people to venture in writing books for our students to rely on,” Marena said.
The Solicitor General stated this on Friday, 14th February 2020 at the launch of the Supreme Court Law Report 2010 to 2012 and a reprint of the Law report of 1994.
Marena said law reports are important component of Gambian legal system which is based on precedent. He said the Ministry of Justice is contemplating expanding the mandate of the Council to include updating statutes.
“The Attorney General is working towards helping the Council in terms of staffing and resources. This is because he has confidence in the Council,” Marena said.
Lawyer Dawda A. Jallow, the master of the ceremony said Law reports are part of the laws and they help people understand the laws better.
Justice Awa Bah, the President of the Gambia Court of Appeal who doubles as the chairperson of the National Council for Law Reporting said the Council was established by an Act of the National Assembly and under the Attorney General. She said they have the power to collect judgments and rulings of the superior courts and publish them.
“Judicial decisions play important role in our laws. Despite the improvement in the electronic access to judicial decisions, law report still plays crucial role in the development of law,” she said.
Justice Gibril B. Samega Janneh, a judge of the Supreme Court who represented the Chief Justice said the Supreme Court is the apex court and the leader in shaping Gambia’s jurisprudence. He said all other courts are bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court, adding that easy access to their decisions is very important in helping them when making judicial decisions.
He said the publication of the law report will have a positive impact in the administration of justice in the country. He said the judiciary should start publishing judicial authorities (judgments and rulings) online adding that this will help in the timely access to judicial authorities because the law reporting comes periodically.
He supported the idea of the Solicitor General for lawyers to write books for the use by legal practitioners and those interested in law.
Surahata B.S. Janneh, the Chief Launcher of the two books spoke at length about the importance of law reports. He said: “jurisprudence within our jurisdiction can move slowly only without law report.”
He said the National Assembly is tasked with law making, but the lawyers’ role in making laws cannot be overemphasised. He maintained that despite the legislature are tasked with law making, the laws that judges make are better because of the rationale behind those laws.
“Useful judgments are highly impracticable without law report,” Janneh said.
He said law reporting makes it easy for people to have access to judicial authorities.
“It is easy to understand cases when you read a law report,” he said.