The High Court of Lesotho and the Court of Appeal have from Wednesday (15 July 2020) until Monday (20 July 2020) temporarily suspended services provided at their premises.

This is according to a statement released on Tuesday which indicates that the suspension of the services is due to fumigation of the buildings of both the High Court and the Court of Appeal which is set to commence today.

According to the statement, the fumigation of the buildings is one of the measures to be taken by the judiciary to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Reports show that the current initiative by the judiciary to contribute in the fight against COVID-19 is not the first. In April this year, the High Court and the Magistrate Court suspended their services when the rest of the country went for lockdown while the Court of Appeal suspended its conventional sitting which was scheduled for April 14, 2020.

Following relaxation of lock-down regulations, the judiciary implemented various measures such as limiting the number of people allowed in courtrooms, ensuring wearing of masks at all times as well as the use of hand sanitisers to mention but a few.

In particular, the Court of Appeal put in place internal measures to minimise the risk of exposure and transmission of the virus. The measures comprise enhancing office sanitation, suspending court related travel for the Justices of the Court of Appeal from other countries for the session which was held in May.

In his statement at the opening of the session in May, President of the Court of Appeal, Dr Kananelo Mosito had indicated that technology would be used to conduct business, adding that from then, the Court would conduct its business remotely which would result in ease of work and also help rationalise resources.

He had stated that as part of escalating the Court’s anticipatory response to the COVID-19 Pandemic as the need for social distancing has become critical, the President of the Court has issued Practice Directive No.1 of 2020 on Remote Hearing which was followed by Court of Appeal (Amendment) Rules 2020. He indicated that this Practice Directive and new Rules could enable determination of appeals and applications online.

To date, there are 6, 033 tests conducted countrywide, with 256 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 48 recoveries and 3 deaths.

Source: LENA 15/07/2020

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