Lawyers advised to respect Judiciary

The president of the International Bar Association (IBA), David Rivkin, has charged lawyers to show proper respect to the judiciary and not to create negative impression about the institution.

Those negative impressions, he said, had the tendency to drag the name of the judiciary into disrepute and lower its authority in the eyes of the public.

Mr. Rivkin, who is in the country for the signing of  the Judicial Integrity Initiative to aid the fight against judicial corruption, was addressing members of the Bench and the Bar at the new court complex on Wednesday. It had the theme, ‘The role of the Bar in combating corruption.’

Mr. Rivkin said: “When lawyers lose cases, they should be able to admit and tell their clients that, the other party did a better job than them or the law was not on their side, rather than asserting that the judge was bribed by the other party in the case.”

He said perception of corruption was always stronger than the real act. He said It must be checked in order to preserve the integrity of the judiciary.

He said eradicating corruption from the judiciary was crucial to the justice delivery system, adding that the various bar associations have official responsibility to combat it.

The president said it was against this backdrop that their fight against the menace was initiated.
He noted, they have commenced the integrity initiative last year with other chief justices from various countries.

He noted that the IBA based on the information from the various associations and stakeholders in the judiciary, would be able to find out the kind of corruption and the forms which exist, and a mechanism would be designed to overcome it.

Mr. Rivkin noted that their findings had revealed concerns about bribery in the judiciary which was widespread from the developing countries.

He added that political interference and undue influence, by government in many ways distabilise the independence of the judiciary.

For him, the Independence of the judiciary was critical, but in some countries allegations of bribery in the judiciary was made by the executive just to run down the judiciary and control it.

He said the IBA had introduced an anti-corruption compact, a 17-page document which would be useful in changing the  perception about the judiciary regarding corruption.

He said his outfit had taken the lead in creating a system to prevent corruption, adding that good measures to fight corruption in the judiciary boost investment confidence in the country.

By Edem Mensah-Tsotorme

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