Seychelles’ key legislation goes online
Seychelles' courts building 'Palais de Justice,' home to the Supreme Court and the Appeals Court, at Ile du Port, Seychelles (Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - The key laws of the Seychelles are now more accessible following the launching today of an electronic compilation of 80 of the most commonly used laws of the Indian Ocean island nation.
When launching the ‘e-Grey Book’, Chief Justice Fredrick Egonda-Ntende highlighted difficulties he faced at the very start of his tenure five years ago including the availability of valid copies of the islands’ laws.
Egonda-Ntende is a Ugandan judge who became Chief Justice in the Seychelles in 2009. Previously he served as Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of Uganda.
“When I reported for duty in 2009 I saw a set of the 1991 edition of the Laws of Seychelles on shelves and asked if the laws were in force” said Egonda Ntende.
“I was told they were out of date and one had to be careful using them. How do I find the law applicable I asked? You just have to consult us,” he said he was advised by one of the judges who received him.
Another concern which the Chief Justice was faced with at the very beginning of his tenure was the fact that the last Seychelles Law Reports dated back to around 1983.
Acknowledging that many other jurisdictions faced the same problem Egonda Ntende said he decided to take steps to improve the situation in the Indian Ocean island nation.
Since then there's been the setting up the Seychelles Legal Information Institute which is now a familiar portal to all interested in Seychelles laws.
This was achieved with the help of the African Legal information institute that has also helped to materialize the e-Grey Book project.
The launching of electronic compilation of some of the country’s key legislations is expected to solve the problem whereby lawyers were coming to court without the necessary documents that would allow them to refer to the country’s laws during hearings.
“It is a very handy reference tool that can be uploaded on any smart phone, tablet, ipad, laptop or other computer. (….) This is answer to those who were complaining of the weight of books to be carried to court,” said Egonda Ntende.
The Seychelles judiciary has received 15 tablets from the European Union through the EUCAP Nestor Programme on which the e-grey book will be uploaded along with all legislation in force.
This will be given to every judge and magistrate in the Seychelles while the legislation has also been uploaded on the Supreme Court’s website where lawyers can access it, in addition to being able to copy from the court’s registry free of charge.
“I can assure you the law being available in this format will help a lot," John Renaud one of the lawyers on the island told SNA after the launch this morning.