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24-28 SEPTEMBER 2017

Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania

The Hon. Chief Justice of Tanzania issued the Invitation. Click here to view the invitation


Details to Follow Shortly



CMJA signed up to Give as you Live to encourage our supporters to raise funds for us every time they shop online

We are asking our Members to do their online shopping through Give as you Live - money can be raised on every train ticket we buy, every piece of stationery we order and that's just while we're at work! Thousands of top retailers including Amazon, Play.com, John Lewis and Expedia have signed up to donate a percentage to the CMJA every time we shop online through Give as you Live, so if you haven't already, go to the website http://www.giveasyoulive.com/join/cmja
and get started.




WRI have received a small grant to enhance their networks of activist widows groups and lawyers dealing with cases related to harmful cultural mourning rites and the inhumane treatment of widows. It is gathering information with a view to sharing good practice in improving the rights of widows. If you are a lawyer or judicial officer working in this field in Sub-Saharan Africa or know of a widows group or law firm undertaking such work, WRI would like to hear from you so that it can build up a repository of good practice and lessons learned and case law. See www.widowsrights.org

If you can assist please contact:

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In the former Member of the Commonwealth, The Gambian people elected Adama Barrow as the President elect of the Gambia on 1 December 2016. Outgoing President Jammeh who initially agreed to step down, reversed his decision. The UN Security Council called for the outgoing Preisdent to respect the will of the people: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=55776#.WE_MZbKLQdU

The Gambian Bar Association on 12 December 2016 called on the outgoing President to respec the constitution: https://youtu.be/zqQ7G_KZyQw

The Pan African Lawyers Union also calls on the outgoing President to respect the constitution and international treaties: http://fatunetwork.net/2016/12/12/pan-african-lawyers-union-says-jammeh-cannot-constitute-court-to-hear-electoral-petition/

The Commonwealth Secretary General encourages a peaceful transition: http://thecommonwealth.org/media/news/secretary-general-encourages-continuation-peaceful-constitutional-and-dignified

On 14 December 2016, the UN condemned the takeover of the Independent Electoral Commission in the Gambia:


UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers appointed on 5 December 2016

The President of the Human Rights Council announced that Mr Diego Garcia-Sayan had been appointed as the Special Rapporteur, replacing Mrs Monica Pinto who resigned earlier in the year. Mr Diego Garcia- Sayan is the immediate Past President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and was formerly the Minister of Justice and Foreign Minister of Peru before becoming Special Rapporteur.

Maldives leaves the Commonwealth.

On 13th October 2016, the Maldives Government issued a statement withdrawing from the Commonwealth. See BBC Report.

This followed the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Meeting (CMAG) held on 23 September 2016 which examined the current state of affairs in the Maldives. In the Statement issued by CMAG, "Ministers expressed deep disappointment
at the lack of progress in the priority areas that they had earlier identified, and therefore placed Maldives on CMAG’s formal agenda. Ministers agreed that, in the absence of substantive progress across the priority areas, the Group would consider
its options, including suspension from the Councils of the Commonwealth, at its next meeting, in March 2017".

The Commonweatlh Secretary General issued the following statement following the announcement:

"I have received news that the Maldives Government has today decided to leave the Commonwealth.

“The Commonwealth family at large – its member governments and its peoples worldwide – will share my sadness and disappointment at this decision.

“The Commonwealth Charter reflects the commitment of our member states to democracy and human rights, development and growth, and diversity. We will continue to champion these values and to support all member states, especially small and developing states, in upholding and advancing these practically for the enduring benefit of their citizens.

“Therefore, we hope that this will be a temporary separation and that Maldives will feel able to return to the Commonwealth family and all that it represents in due course.”



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December 2016
he CMJA President, His Hon. Chief Judge John Lowndes has agreed that a paper he presented to a Seminar in Dili, East Timor in July 2016 on "JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE AND JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY AT THE COALFACE OF THE AUSTRALIAN JUDICIARY" should be made available on the CMJA's website. Click here to view the paper.

November 2016
The CMJA was represented at the East African Magistrates and Judges Association (EAMJA) Conference and AGM held in Munyonyo, Kampala, Uganda from 31 October-4 November 2016. The Theme of the Conference was: Transformation of Judiciaries in East Africa for Improved Service Delivery. The CMJA was represented by Dr Karen Brewer, Secretary General, Chief Magistrate Matankiso Nthunya, Regional Vice President and Justice Patrick Kiage, Council Member for Kenya. Dr Karen Brewer made a presention on "Transformation of the Judiciary in the Commonwealth with reference to the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles". Chief Magistrate Nthunya made a report to the EAMJA AGM and Justice Kiage attended the pre-Conference Council Meeting of the EAMJA.

Dr Brewer and Justice Kiage also attended the pre-conference Colloquium on "Gender Equality Jurisprudence adn the Role of the Judiciary in Promoting Women's Access to Justice"

Click here for the Resolutions from the Meeting

October 2016
The CMJA was represented at the Senior Officials of Law Ministers Meeting and the Meeting of Small States of Law Ministries which were held in London at the Commonwealth Secretariat. The CMJA presented a report to both meetings on its activities and work. It was also involved in the presentation in the wings of this meeting on the Latimer House Toolkit.

September 2016
The CMJA holds a successful Conference in Georgetown, Guyana on the theme: "The Judiciary as Guarantors of the Rule of Law" which was attended by over 220 delegates from 33 jurisdictions in the Commonwealth. The following are some of the reports issued at the time:






August 2016
The CMJA is delighted to announce the launch of the we are delighted to announce the launch of the updated A Guide for the Magistrate in the Commonwealth: Fundamental Principles and Recommended Practices (formerly "The Magistrate in the Commonwealth : A Training Manual").We are deeply grateful to the CMJA President, Chief Judge, John Lowndes for all his assistance with this Guide. Click here for further information.

June 2016
The CMJA, CLEA and Rechters voor Recthers (Judges for Judges) issued a Statement relating to the judges in Botswana in 2015 on 16 June 2016.

The CMJA supported the International Commission of Jurists oral statement given to the UN Human Rights Council on 16 June 2016 on "Judicial Accountability and Attacks on Lawyers" which co-incides with the launch of the ICJ's new Practionners Guide on Judicial Accountability.

The CMJA also supported the International Bar Association Human Rights Initiative's oral statement on "Indicators of Independence of Justice Systems" which was delivered ot the UN Human Rights Council on 16 June 2016.

The CMJA and CLA provided a Joint Written Briefing on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Independence of judges and Lawyers in anticipation of the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers held on 15 June 2016.

The CMJA was represented by Council Member, Mrs Sybil Roach Tennant, JP and the CMJA Secretary General at the Joint Commonwealth Secretariat /British Red Cross seminar, "Law, Humanity and the Commonwealth," held in London on 13 June 2016

As Her Majesty The Queen is the CMJA Patron, we were invited to send two representatives to the Patron's Lunch held on the Mall in London on 12 June 2016. Despite the inclement weather, Dr Karen Brewer and Temi Akinwotu were present on the day. The CMJA also sent a letter of congratulations to Her Majesty on her birthday in April 2016.

Justice John Logan represented the CMJA and spoke on "Relationship between Parliament, the Judiciary and the Executive" at the 27th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Seminar held in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia from 7-11 June 2016.

May 2016
The CMJA Secretary General participated in the Commonwealth Meeting for Civil Society, Business and Government Leaders on Anti- Corruption on 11 May 2016 at Marlborough House, London. This meeting was organised prior to the Anti- Corruption Summit organised by the British government on 12 May 2016.

April 2016
The CMJA was invited to participate in the International Commission of Jurists Conference on Emerging Threats to Judicial Independence held in Harare, Zimbabwe from 28-29 April 2016. His Hon. Justice Charles Mkandawire, Council Member and ICJ Commissioner spoke about the importance of implementing the Commonwealth (Latimer House) Principles at the Conference.

March 2016
The CMJA supported the International Bar Association's Human Right Initiative (IBAHRI) oral submission on 17 March 2016 to the UN Human Rights Council on "The Role of the UPR in advancing human rights in the administration of justice". The IBAHRI also prodcued a report on the same issue which was also launched on port which was launched on 17 March 2016. A copy of the report is available from the IBAHRI website. Click here for the report.

February 2016
The CMJA Secretary General, Dr Karen Brewer, participated in a mission to Bangladesh with Mrs Katalaina Sapolu (Director) Mr Mark Guthrie (Justice Section) sponsored by the Commonwealth Secretariat's Rule of Law Division.

January 2016
The CMJA Director of Programmes, Judge Shamim Qureshi, along with Chief Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale (Turks and Caicos Islands), Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn (Cayman Islands) and Mr Mark Guthrie (Rule of Law Division, Commonwealth Secretariat) undertook separate training of police prosecutors and magistrates in Guyana on domestic violence issues. We are grateful to the Commonwealth Secretariat for their support of this training. The opening was attended by the President of Guyana and Chancellor Carl Singh, Head of the Guyanese Judiciary.


Previous reports on activities: Click here




The Commonwealth Legal
Information Institute

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