Judiciary amends Court of Appeal’s rules

DAR ES SALAAM: THE Judiciary of Tanzania has made some amendments to the Court of Appeal Rules to facilitate easy dispensation and administration of justice to enhance the rule of law.

The amendments called, “Tanzania Court of Appeal (Amendment) Rules, 2024 Gn 188” issued on March 22, 2024 underscore a determined effort towards modernisation and efficiency within the judicial system, paving the way for enhanced justice administration.

“With a keen focus on streamlining processes, leveraging technology and clarifying legal ambiguities, these rules stand as a beacon of progress in Tanzania’s pursuit of judicial excellence,” the Co-Secretary to the Judiciary Rules Committee, Mr Kifungu Kariho said in a statement issued in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday dated April 9, 2024.

Mr Kariho, who is also the Deputy Registrar of the High Court, pointed out one of the most notable aspects of these amendments as the recognition of decisions published on official online platforms (TanzLII) managed by the Judiciary of Tanzania as reported decisions.

“This move holds immense significance as it facilitates easier access to legal precedents, thereby enriching the jurisprudence and expediting the citation process. By embracing digital platforms, the judiciary demonstrates a commitment to embracing modern tools to serve justice effectively in the digital age,” he said in the statement.

He said that the amendments of the rules mark a significant milestone in Tanzania’s legal journey, setting the stage for a more responsive, transparent, and effective judicial system that serves the needs of its citizens with distinction.

“Chief Justice Professor Ibrahim Hamis Juma’s leadership in spearheading these reforms deserves commendation for enhancing efficiency and accessibility through technological innovation.

These amendments mark a significant step towards a more responsive and agile judicial system, reaffirming Tanzania’s commitment to the rule of law and judicial excellence,” he said.

The co-Secretary highlighted some of the amendments that have been made by the Committee Chaired by Court of Appeal Justice, Hon Rehema Mkuye as removing requirements for payment of fees for remission applications.

Other amendments are recognising decisions published on official online platforms managed by the Judiciary of Tanzania as reported decisions, facilitating easier access to legal precedents and streamlining the citation process.

The amendments made also clarify the use of “Judge” and “Justice”, distinguishing between judges of the High Court and the Court of Appeal and vesting a single Justice with the mandate to hear exparte and inter-party applications for stay of execution, aiming to save time, reduce workload and accelerate application disposition.

Mr Kariho mentioned other amendments as reducing unnecessary costs by minimising excessive filing, providing clarity on procedures for reference to a single justice against Registrar decisions and empowering Registrars to make orders related to service before a matter is cause-listed.

There is also aligning with the Judiciary of Tanzania’s ICT policy, intending to reduce bulkiness of court records and establishing guidelines to prevent abuse of court process in applications for leave on a second attempt.

The amendments made also are empowering Registrars to handle uncontested applications for leave to amend documents and granting a single Justice power to determine contested applications, expediting disposition.

They are further delegating the responsibility of preparing records of appeal to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) and appellant respectively, providing options for appellants regarding addressing the Court during appeal hearings and clarifying timeframes for appeal abatement and excluding certain periods from limitation calculations.

Amendments further facilitate appeals struck out due to lack of proof of request letter, granting discretion to save appeals despite incomplete records, introducing a form for withdrawal of appeal by consent and giving power to Registrars to mark withdrawals.

The amendments of the rules also clarify the use of “parties to the appeal, authorising Registrars to mark withdrawals of cross-appeals or notices, allow them to make the legal representative of the deceased a party as well as enabling to handle applications for remission of court fees and waiver of security requirements.

Amendments remove requirements for payment of fees for remission applications, standardise procedures for withdrawal and non-contestation, grant unrepresented parties the right to claim costs, clarify timeframes for filing bills of costs and empowering Registrars to extend deadlines and adjust instruction fees and scales of costs to respond to inflation.

Mr Kariho stated that the clarification regarding the use of terms such as “Judge” and “Justice” helps eliminate confusion and ensures consistency in legal terminology, fostering clarity and precision in legal proceedings.

He also stated that the delegation of authority to a single Justice to handle ex-parte and inter-party applications for stay of execution is a pragmatic measure aimed at saving time, reducing workload, and expediting the disposition of applications.

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