The recent appointment of Justice Ian Kirby to head the country’s court of Appeal has been hailed as a welcome development by the legal community.
President Khama appointed Kirby to be Judge President of the Court of Appeal following the retirement of Patrick Tebutt who had served in the court of Appeal since 1994.
The appointment has made Kirby the first Motswana to hold the position of Judge President of the Court of Appeal.
In an interview with The Telegraph the chairman of the Law Society Tebogo Sebego stated that Kirby’s appointment was the right step towards appointing citizen judges to the country’s highest court.
“We have been hoping for localizing the Court of Appeal and we believe this is a step in the right direction,” he said.
Sebego highlights Kirby’s experience as the main contributor to his new position.
“Kirby is one of the most experienced lawyers. It comes as no surprise that one of the most senior lawyers gets this lucrative job. As a judge, he has served with distinction, and his decisions are always sound in court. He has served in all capacities of law,” he added.
The newly appointed Judge President of the Court of Appeal has occasionally sat in the Court of Appeal but was previously a high court judge.
Kirby, who formed the highly successful Collins and Newman law firm, has also served the country as Attorney General in his time.
Parks Tafa a senior partner at the law firm, Collins and Newman and Company, says that Kirby is the right man for the job.
“I think he’s a fantastic choice, one of the best the country has. I could not find a more fitting person as a Motswana, with competence and experience,” he said.
“He is a very all round lawyer, whether it’s criminal, matrimonial or commercial law he is more than competent. In my two decades as a lawyer, I have met very few as all round as Kirby. There is no doubt in my mind that he will lead that court well,” Tafa said.
Tafa added that Kirby’s contribution and r├®sum├® were there for all to see.
“He is a genius as a lawyer and very balanced in his decision. His judgements are there for all to see in court reports,” he argued.
Another lawyer, Busang Manewe, says that the appointment would encourage other judges to reach higher judicial positions.
“The appointment of Kirby is exciting, because it shows we have confidence in our own people. I hope this is the beginning of good competence that will see judges ascend to the highest offices in the Court of Appeal,” he said.