Covid deaths overburden court

18 July 2021 | Justice

Justice minister Yvonne Dausab said her ministry will be streamlining processes of the Master of the High Court, having been overwhelmed with requests and applications amid rising deaths due to Covid-19.
Dausab said she had a meeting with Master of the High Court senior staff to discuss how they can improve services related to deceased estates as currently, their limited staff are struggling to keep up with the demand and applications received daily. “We are thinking of maybe differentiating between Covid-19 deaths and natural deaths. The idea is to give priority to Covid-19 deaths because families have the limitation of 10 days. We can perhaps prioritise them in terms of issuance of letters of executive and administration of deceased estates,” Dausab said.
She added that due to the pandemic, the Master of the High Court is working with skeleton staff as more staff members are getting exposed and infected with Covid-19. “We want to serve better in these difficult times and our people are working around the clock to provide services, but it is increasingly difficult when a portion of them are off due to Covid-19. At one point we were only working with five staff because 16 of them had tested positive,” Dausab said.
She said that the problem of skeleton staff affects the whole judiciary system and is driving them to a crisis point. “We need to find other ways of doing things because our staff are not only getting infected but some are dying, which put pressure on our already limited capacity and this is pushing us to a little bit of a crisis point. We are looking at other ways of responding to crime and law and order issues.” – Nampa

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