Counsel: Sevua not treated fairly

National, Normal

The National –Friday, January 7, 2011

 JUSTICE Mark Sevua will know this morning whether he is successful with the continued hearing challenging the legality of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission (JLSC) decision of  Sept 28 last year that effectively discontinued his role as a judge of the National and Supreme Court.

The National Court presided by Justice Derek Hartshorn on Wednesday heard his application seeking leave for a judicial review and will today hand down the decision on whether to grant the leave or not.

Sevua’s lawyer Copland Raurela of Raurela Lawyers, in his ex-parte application before Hartshorn last Wednesday, submitted that when JLSC decided to deny Sevua extension to serve as judge for another five-year term, they had “breached the principles of natural justice”. 

He submitted that “the minimum requirement of the principles of natural justice enshrined under Section 59(2) of the Constitution is the duty to act fairly, and in principle, to be seen to be acting fairly”.

Raurela added that the need to provide good reasons for any decision-maker for a decision he or she makes is an important part of the principle of natural justice. 

Sevua, turned 60 yesterday and, by application of law, was no longer a practising judge of the courts, as of close of business yesterday because his application seeking another five-year extension of his second term was not approved by JLSC.

Sevua’s submissions, in an ex-parte hearing on Wednesday, also said JLSC had set a precedent in the recent past when it extended five other judges’ terms to 65 years .

And therefore JLSC’s decision not to extend his term was “unjust” and “unfair”.