Novel concepts

06 Jul 2020

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PAKISTAN’s tax revenues are once again down. We will have to borrow to keep providing services through our inefficient systems.

Unfortunately, there seems to be no effort to find creative ways to solve our problems. It is more of the same, but with the expectation of achieving a different result.

Recently, I came across the concept of lay magistrates in England and Wales being used for the past few hundred years. The concept involves volunteers from the local community, not lawyers, trained to do the job of a magistrate.

They are paid expenses only, are assisted by a trained lawyer and work in three-person teams. Each magistrate works 26 half days a year and takes up simple civil, criminal and family matters, resolving around 97 per cent of cases at this initial stage.

The more complex cases still start off at this stage and are referred to the higher courts. What are the benefits of this system? This method saves the UK government approximately £100 million in costs every year.

The federal and provincial governments here should adopt this system here. The advantages of this system will be the involvement of the community. Paired with strong processes it would result in a cheaper, more-effective method of justice provision and fair play in the country.

A Pakistani
Karachi

Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2020