MASERU – The Law Society of Lesotho has asked a senior High Court judge to recuse himself from a case in which it is challenging the legality of the registrar and her subordinates hearing judicial cases.
Justice Semapo Peete was on Tuesday supposed to preside over a case in which the society is challenging the legality of rules made by Chief Justice Mahapela Lehohla allowing the registrar and her deputy to preside over uncontested motion cases.
However, a lawyer representing the law society, Advocate Sakoane Sakoane, said the judge should step aside because he is the one who swore-in the registrar ’Mathato Sekoai and her deputy Lesitsi Mokeke as competent judicial officers to hear cases.
Sakoane said he could not alert Justice Peete earlier about the intention to lodge a recusal application because he only became aware of the swearing-in details on Monday.
Justice Peete announced in court on Tuesday that he was indeed assigned to swear-in the registrar and her deputy.
“I cannot conceal that I was assigned to swear them in and this was done in Chamber One. And I say this without risking my high reputation,” Justice Peete said.
He will make a ruling on whether he recuses himself from the case or not after hearing arguments from the law society’s lawyers and the lawyer representing the respondents on May 10.
The respondents are represented by Advocate Henry Viljoen, a senior counsel from South Africa.
The respondents include Sekoai, Mokeke, the Judicial Services Commission and the Attorney General.