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The Supreme Court of Namibia

Strengthening the Magistrates Court System of Namibia

The Government of the Republic Namibia requested assistance to increase the capacity of the magistrates and the Magistrates' Court System as a national development priority.

Country: Republic of Namibia
Host: Magistrates' Commission
Start date: 01/07/2010
End date: 30/07/2015
Policy area: Rule of Law
Policy expert: Mark Guthrie
Project manager: Tim Newman


Long delays in the criminal justice area were experienced due to the poor performance of magistrates. The need to increase the capacity of the magistrates and the magistrates' court system was therefore identified as a national development priority by the Government of Namibia.


The goal of this project was to build the capacity of magistrates and strengthen the Magistrates’ Court System in Namibia in order to create a stronger, more effective judicial process in Namibia.


The project provided mentoring to magistrates and strengthened the operations of the Magistrates' Court System. This would ultimately lead to a well-trained and efficient group of magistrates and a court system that is able to deliver timely judgments in a competent manner and within an effectively functioning Magistrates’ Court System.

Ultimately, the people of Namibia will benefit from a court system that is better able to deal with proceedings in the timely and fair manner that is expected. 

  1. Over 300 magistrates trained.
  2. Over 40 new magistrates.
  3. Approximately 200 clerks trained.
  4. New administrative tool-kit and civil and criminal bench books for the Magistrates Offices developed and introduced.
  5. Improvement in the performance of some of the Magistrates Offices is clear, with figures taken from across the six court regions showing an overall reduction of the total backlog of cases in the system and the best region (Windhoek Rural) recording a decrease in backlog of nearly 50%.