Commonwealth Secretariat conducts inaugural Latimer House Dialogues Symposium in Lesotho

11 October 2023
Photo of Lesotho judges and senior magistrates who attended the inaugural Latimer House Dialogues Symposium

The Commonwealth Secretariat recently hosted a successful symposium with Lesotho judges and senior magistrates on the Latimer House Principles in Maseru, Lesotho. 

The event was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Rule of Law section in conjunction with the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (CMJA), the Lesotho Judiciary and the National University of Lesotho.

The 30 judges and senior magistrates who attended the symposium lauded the event as it enabled them to discuss the independence of the judiciary in Lesotho, exchange views on challenges and opportunities, and participants were able to draw on, among other things, comparative experiences from those in attendance. 

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Chief Justice of Lesotho, Hon Sakoane Sakoane, welcomed the opportunity for members of the judiciary to dialogue on their role among the three arms of government and on addressing challenges faced by the judiciary.

Dr Elizabeth Macharia, Legal Adviser, Law Development Section at the Commonwealth Secretariat, thanked the Chief Justice of Lesotho for his leadership and relentless drive to strengthen the judiciary, which will enable the country to realise its SDG 16 Goals on the rule of law and equal access to justice. She said:

“The Commonwealth Secretariat welcomes the opportunity of working with the judiciary in Lesotho on strengthening the role and independence of the judiciary and promoting the realisation of the Commonwealth Equal Access to Justice Plan of Action that was endorsed my Commonwealth Heads of Government in Kigali, Rwanda in June 2022.”

This inaugural symposium is one of several Latimer House Dialogues that will empower Commonwealth member countries to build and maintain resilient rule of law, constitutional and equal access to justice frameworks. 

Photo of Lesotho judges and senior magistrates who attended the inaugural Latimer House Dialogues Symposium
Thirty judges and senior magistrates attended the inaugural Latimer House Dialogues Symposium in Lesotho.

The Latimer House Dialogues enable all three arms of government to:

  • engage in dialogue, raise awareness and build consensus on the roles played by each arm of government to ensure adequate checks and balances and the rule of law; 
  • sustain a culture of mutual respect and understanding their respective mandates;
  • sustain mutual trust and confidence through maintaining transparency and accountability for actions and decisions;
  • affirm that the predominance of one arm of government, in disregard of the power and independence of the other, is an affront to the rule of law.

The Latimer House Principles Symposium was facilitated by Judge Charles Mkandawire of the Supreme Court of Malawi, the past Chairperson of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association; Justice Annah Tawana of the Botswana Judiciary and a member of the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute; Justice Melanie Plimmer of the United Kingdom Judiciary; and Dr Itumeleng Shale from the University of Lesotho.

The Speaker of the Lesotho National Assembly, the Rt Hon Tlohang Sekhamane, attended the opening ceremony. Also in attendance was the Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr Dira Ralebese, who attended on behalf of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Law and Parliamentary Affairs, and Dr Letsadzo Kometsi, the Dean of the Faculty of Law, National University of Lesotho. 

As a key outcome, the Lesotho Judiciary adopted some recommendations as a road map for strengthening the rule of law and separation of powers in Lesotho and a beacon for other member countries that will host future Latimer House Dialogues.

Read the recommendations

Media contact

  • Charmaine Wright  Head of Media Relations, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • +44 20 7747 6242  |  E-mail