Lesotho - Judicial system





The legal system is based on English common law and Roman-Dutch law with judicial review of legislative acts in High Court and Court of Appeal. Lesotho has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction.

The judicial system consists of the High Court, the Court of Appeal, subordinate courts, and the Judicial Service Commission (JSC). The members of the High Court are the chief justice, who is appointed by the chief of state, acting on the advice of the prime minister, and an unspecified number of puisne judges appointed by the chief of state, acting on the advice of the JSC. The Court of Appeal, which meets semiannually, is headed by a president, appointed by the chief of state, acting on the advice of the prime minister, and includes an unspecified number of justices of appeal, appointed by the chief of state, acting on the advice of the JSC. Parliament has the power of establishing subordinate courts and courts-martial. The High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction over civil and criminal matters, as well as appellate jurisdiction from subordinate courts.

Subordinate courts, comprising resident magistrate's courts, judicial commissioner's courts, and central and local courts, administer statute laws, while chiefs administer customary and tribal laws. There is no trial by jury. Military courts have jurisdiction only over military cases and their decisions are final.

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