JSC amends criteria for judicial appointments

The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) has issued a statement amending the educational and experience criteria for the appointment of judges.

Judges appointed to courts in Male’ must have either a degree, masters degree or PhD in Islamic Shariah, law or Shariah law, and at least three years/two years/six months experience in a law-related field, depending on their respective level of qualification.

President Nasheed’s member on the JSC, Aishath Velezinie, said the criteria did not apply for existing judges and would only affect new appointments, a condition not mentioned in the JSC’s press statement.

“Of the 207 of the judges currently in office, 39 have degrees or higher. Some left school before grade seven, meaning they haven’t completed primary school,” she noted.

“The rest have certificates that were tailor-made to familiarise them with the previous constitution. Judges do not have the means, resources or access to knowledge to enforce the current constitution, and this [statement] looks like a way of confusing people into thinking that the JSC is addressing the issue.”

President Mohamed Nasheed recently made an official request to the JSC to review and amend the guidelines governing the educational qualifications of judges, criticising the existing criteria as setting the bar too low.

“For the standard to determine educational qualification, they are saying [judges must possess] a certificate in either law or Shariah, and even if the certificate is not accredited by the Maldives Accreditation Board, it must be a certificate of at least level three or higher accepted by the government”, he said.

The minimum educational qualification for judges approved by the JSC was therefore “essentially grade seven”.

The Judges Association of Maldives (JAM) condemned President Mohamed Nasheed criticism of the JSC decision on determining guidelines for the reappointment of sitting judges, warning his interference could “render the separation of powers obsolete”.

Velezinie meanwhile said she had hope that all sides of parliament would come together to address the matter.

The JSC had not responded to Minivan News at time of press.


5 thoughts on “JSC amends criteria for judicial appointments”

  1. is this new criteria specially made for a certain someone to become a judge? it does look suspicious! and how does a PhD + experience in RELATED AREA equate to a degree + 3 years experience and a masters + 2 years experience in law??

    and why have the JSC not addressed the present issue of reviewing the criteria for sitting judges? we don't need uneducated people as one of the three powers of this nation. there is already conflict of interest in these policy making stages, since there is a sitting judge on the commission itself. how could the JSC be independent with a composition as such?

  2. Yeah, and how can the JSC be independent with a composition when the president( a politician) and the parliament ( a political body) can appoint members to the JSC. Even though democracy claims to make commissions independent it is an ideal situation that cannot be achieved in reality. It is only written in documents.

    We all know that both parties are trying to play it to their advantage. Zero level of sincerity.

  3. it is indeed a sad state of affairs in our country. but I suppose it is to be expected in country that is in transition.

    the lines of power have yet not been drawn. and the three legs of the state are vying viciously to control more power. DRP via the parliament, and MDP via the executive.

    what is less apparent is that the judiciary has for the most part consolidated its power behind a wall of the principle of separation of powers, the dignity of the courts and the so-called honour of the judges.

    this is extremely dangerous. while parliament and the executive is subject to scrutiny from multiple angles, the judiciary is escaping unscathed. any criticism, just or unjust is regarded as an affront to the honour of the judges and the courts. the seedy bunch (discounting the few judges/magistrates with integrity) who are the arbiters of justice are perceived to be corrupt.

    and the corrupt within the justice system are pulling all the strings to protect their interests, even if it means eroding the little trust in the judicial system. this is apparent in the functioning of the Judicial Services Commission.


  4. Minivan should have gotten a comment from someone from the 'Justice' campaign. Democracy Network perhaps. The 'Justice' campaign is also working on the issue of appointing judges but they are more concerned with other aspects of appointing new judges.


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