The government was urged to issue a call for the appointment of more magistrates on Thursday, hours after four new judges were sworn in.

The Association of Judges and Magistrates said the appointment of the new judges restored the required number of judges after retirements over the past two years.

It said it was disappointed, however, that the government had issued a call for four new magistrates when the number of magistrates would actually only be increasing by one since two magistrates have now been appointed judges and another has retired.

"The functions and duties of magistrates and the recent influx of complex and serious criminal cases being heard by the magistrates is such that a serious and effective increase in the number of magistrates is imperative in order to ensure and effective and efficient criminal judicial process," the association said.

"Unless the authorities take serious and immediate steps to increase the number of magistrates as well as provide them with adequately trained and motivated staff, no effective improvement in the judicial process concerning criminal cases will ever be seen."

The association insisted therefore that the number of new magistrates should be no less than six. 

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