In response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Court of Appeal is changing the way it operates.

According to the statement from Court of Appeal, to ensure the court can continue to deliver core and vital services during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court is introducing a series of changes to its processes and procedures.

It reveals that for the 2020 April session, the public is informed that the April Session has been postponed to May 12 to 29, adding that interlocutory and case management hearings will be conducted and determined on the paper, unless the President orders otherwise.

It adds that for the May 2020 session, the Court of Appeal will not be conducting in-person hearings, noting that beginning May 12, all hearings will be conducted on the basis of written submissions. It further points out that the Court will determine matters on papers through the filling of written submissions.

The statement says where strictly necessary, video teleconferencing will be held with the Judges remotely but the electronic facilities operated from the Court’s Buildings in Maseru.

It states that judgements will be delivered on May 29, adding that some changes may be made to the timing when judgements are delivered.

It says the changes will allow Court matters to be conducted electronically or remotely, adding that the principles of open justice have been an important part of the Court’s planning of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It notes that the hearing can be made open to the public, if technically possible the Registrar logging into the hearing in a public court room and making the hearing audible in that court room, or by other methods.

The statement however further highlights that in the exceptional circumstances presented by the current pandemic, the impossibility of the public access should not normally prevent a remote hearing taking place.

The message from both, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Government of Lesotho is to take all precautions to avoid unnecessary contact in response to COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: LENA 17/04/2020

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