Posted by / Friday 15 June 2018 / No comments

The functions of the Chief Justice of the Gambia

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The constitution of the Gambia makes provision for the appointment of a Chief Justice. The appointment is done by the President in consultation with the country’s Judicial Service Commission. Whenever the position of the Chief Justice becomes vacant, the most senior judge on the Supreme Court assumes the role of the Chief Justice. Within six months of his assumption of the role of the Chief Justice, the president must appoint a substantive Chief Justice.

Appoint a Medical Board
If it is alleged that the president is mentally or physically incapable of discharging the duties of his office, one of the functions of the Chief Justice is to appoint a Medical Board to investigate whether this true or not. However, this must only be at the request of the speaker of the National Assembly. While this investigation is ongoing, the Vice-president assumes the duties of the president.

Appointment of a tribunal
Also, where the president is alleged to have misconducted himself and bringing the name of his office into disrepute, and the Speaker of the National Assembly receives a notice in writing, singed by not less than half of the members of the House, he could request the Chief Justice to appoint a Tribunal to inquire into the alleged misconduct.

Election of Speaker
The Chief Justice was mandated to preside over the election of the Speaker of the National Assembly. In other words, he supervised the conduct of the election, in the House, of a Speaker of the Assembly.

Presides over the Supreme Court
Another function of the Chief Justice is to preside over the sittings of the Supreme Court and is also a member of the Cadi Appeals Selection Committee.

Chairman of the Judicial Service Commission
Also, the Chief Justice is the chairman of the Judicial Service Commission.

Supervision of the courts
It is also the duty of the Chief Justice to ensure the proper and efficient operations of the courts within the jurisdiction of the state of the Gambia. This is accomplished with the help of the Judicial Service Commission.

Removal from office
Though the Chief Justice has security of tenure of office, he or she could be removed from office on grounds of inability to perform the functions of his office. For him or her to be removed from office, the members of the National Assembly must present a motion, signed by 2/3 majority of the House of Representatives to the Speaker of the House. After this, a three-member tribunal must be set up to investigate the veracity of the claim. If the claim is proven to be true, the National Assembly must vote again and if they are able to secure 2/3 majority vote in support of the removal of the Chief Justice, the chief Justice ceases to be the Chief Justice.

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