The judiciary is grappling with significant operational challenges, as revealed at the inauguration of the “Judicial Year 2024” on Thursday. Speaking at the event, Chief Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan highlighted the urgent need for solutions to the suspension of criminal hearings in the capital, Malé City, primarily due to the deteriorating conditions of court facilities.

The event, presided over by President Dr Mohamed Muizzu, marked the commencement of the judicial year, aiming to set objectives and reflect on past achievements. It also included the recognition of individuals with over three decades of service in the judiciary.

Chief Justice Muthasim, in his address, emphasised the pressing issue of the Criminal Court’s operations being severely disrupted. The court, housed in an ageing and weather-vulnerable building, has ceased all functions except for issuing critical orders. This cessation has brought criminal proceedings in the capital to a standstill, posing a threat to the wider judicial system.

The Chief Justice urged for immediate action from all branches of the State, stressing the dire situation where even judges and staff lack suitable working spaces. Besides the Criminal Court, the Family Court, Drug Court, and magistrate courts on several islands are also struggling, albeit continuing to provide services amidst these challenges.

Further complicating the judiciary’s effectiveness, Chief Justice Muthasim pointed out the difficulties in implementing the current Civil Procedure Code and Criminal Procedure Code. He attributed the accumulation of unresolved cases to these challenges and pledged the judiciary’s cooperation in restructuring efforts.

The Chief Justice also noted the necessity of reforming the Judicial Services Commission and elevating the judiciary’s administrative branches to internationally accepted standards.