Experts design compendium of laws for Sierra Leone's 2023 Elections

March 14, 2023

Photo showing members of the Sierra Leone Judiciary reviewing the laws to be included in a compendium

UNDP/Fatmata Katta

The swift resolution of electoral disputes is one of the main concerns ahead of Sierra Leone’s 2023 elections, as their likelihood can cause significant delays throughout the electoral cycle.  On 10-11 March 2023, a group of honorable judges and experts held a retreat in Tokeh to review Sierra Leone’s legal acts for incorporation in a compendium designed to promote the efficiency of the country’s electoral dispute resolution process. 

Addressing his fellow experts, the Chief Justice of Sierra Leone, the Honorable Justice Desmond Babatunde Edwards said “with the updated compendium of electoral laws, lawyers don’t have to go back and forth to get specific legislations or case laws that have to do with elections, as they will find them all in one document that they could carry to court.”

He added that the review committee planned to include references to relevant international legislation, rules, procedures as well as case laws on elections that were not included in the 2018 compendium.

As part of its Elections Project, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with financial assistance of the EU and Irish Aid is providing technical support to this initiative and is working with the office of Chief Justice to facilitate the training of judges and magistrates in dispute resolution techniques.

Sierra Leone’s 2022 Public Elections Act provides for the establishment of an Election Petitions and Offences Court separate from the High Court to determine all issues arising from public elections in Sierra Leone, except for the Presidential and the Chieftaincy elections.

Photo showing cross section of members of the Sierra Leone Judiciary during the retreat to develop a compendium of the electoral laws

UNDP/Fatmata Katta