A shortage of lawyers within the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs has caused lengthy delays in getting Cabinet attention for the Law Reform Commission’s reports on corruption offences and sexual offences.
The two reports contain critical recommendations for reform of laws and procedures within the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code that deal with the two matters.
The report on corruption offences was handed over to the Government in 2011, while the second report on recommendations for reform of sexual offences was handed over in April last year.
The Commission’s third report on Mental Impairment, Criminal Responsibility and Fitness to Plead was presented to the Ministry yesterday.
Justice Minister Commins Mewa blamed the delay to submit the reports to Cabinet on a ‘acute shortage of lawyers’ in his Ministry’s policy unit.
“The main reason is that we have an acute shortage of lawyers at the legal Policy Unit and so priorities are given to current government legislation under our Ministry. However because these recommendations are equally important, my Ministry is seeking donor assistance to fund a full time technical advisor, a lawyer who can be fully committed in working on LRC reports and recommendations other than other legislation.”