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Commonwealth advises Botswana on set-up of law reform unit

12 July 2018

A team of Commonwealth experts has been working with the government of Botswana to improve its legal system.

Following a decision of its cabinet, Botswana is establishing a law reform unit under the Attorney General - a first for the country.  Staff of the Attorney General's Chambers’ Drafting Division are highly skilled at drafting legislation, but have not previously received any training in law reform.

The Commonwealth team that travelled to Botswana included legal advisers from the Secretariat as well as Michael Sayers, former Chief Executive of the Law Commission for England and Wales and General Secretary of the Commonwealth Association of Law Reform Agencies (CALRAS).

Their visit, which helped lay the groundwork for the creation of the law reform unit, included best practice training based on Commonwealth publication 'Changing the Law: A Practical Guide to Law Reform'. 

Mr. Sayers conducted an intensive 3-day training programme for those who will form part of the new law reform unit and distributed copies of the Guide, which contains extensive information about establishing and effective law reform body in a small state. 

Commonwealth Legal Adviser Segametsi Mothibatsela praised Botswana for its decision to establish a law reform unit and encouraged the stakeholders to continue to participate and engage in the law reform process to improve Botswana’s social and economic development. 

Matt Moorhead, a legal specialist from the Commonwealth, talked about the support his Office offers through the Legal Knowledge Exchange Portal, model laws, and toolkits.

Botswana's Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Segakweng Tsiane thanked the Secretariat for its assistance, and for expertise in various other areas such as cybercrime, anti–corruption measures and alternative sentencing policy.