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1. Establishment and Constitution:
S.125(1) of the Constitution provides that –“Within eighteen months of the coming into force of this Constitution, there shall be established a Supreme Court of the Gambia which shall consist of –
(a) the Chief Justice;
(b) not less than four other Justices of the Supreme Court;
(c) such Judge of the Court of Appeal as the Chief Justice may by writing under his or her hand, select to sit in the Supreme Court for the determination of a particular cause or matter;provided that no Judge shall be selected under this paragraph unless he or she is qualified to be appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court.”
S.126 provides that –
(1) “The Supreme Court shall be the final court of appeal for The Gambia and shall have such appellate and other jurisdiction as may be conferred on it by this Constitution or any other law;
Provided that the Supreme Court shall not have original jurisdiction in respect of any criminal matter.
(2) The Supreme Court may depart from a previous decision when it appears to it right to do so; and all other courts shall be bound to follow the decisions of the Supreme Court on a matter of law.
(3) For the purpose of the hearing and determination of any matter within its jurisdiction, the Supreme Court shall have all the powers conferred by law on any other court established by this Constitution or any other law.”
Original jurisdiction is vested in the Supreme Court to hear and determine certain cases by S.127 of the Constitution which provided that –
(1) “The Supreme Court shall have an exclusive original jurisdiction –
(a) for the interpretation or enforcement of any provision of this Constitution other than any provision of sections 18 to 23 or section 36(5) (which relate to fundamental rights and freedoms);
(b) on any question whether any law was made in excess of the powers conferred by this Constitution or any other law upon the National Assembly or any -other person or authority;
(c) on any question as to whether or not any person was validly elected to the office of President or was validly elected to, or vacated his or her seat in, the National Assembly; or
(d) on any question whether any official document should be produced, or its contents disclosed, in proceedings before a court where such productions resisted on the grounds that its production or the disclosure of its contents would be prejudicial to the security of the State or be injurious to the public interest.
(2) Where any question referred to in paragraphs (a), (b) or (d) of subsection (1) arises in any proceedings in any other court, that court shall stay its proceedings and refer the matter to the Supreme Court for its determination, and such other court shall give effect to any decision of the Supreme Court in the matter.
(3) The proceedings in the Supreme Court on any question referred to in paragraph (d), of subsection (1) shall be held in camera.”
S.128 of the Constitution provides that –
(1) “An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court as of right –
(a) from any judgment of the Court of Appeal on an appeal in any civil or criminal cause or matter from a judgment of the High Court in the exercise of its original jurisdiction;
(b) from any judgment of the Court of Appeal dismissing an appeal from a sentence of death imposed by any other court; or
(c) in such other case as may be prescribed by an Act of the National Assembly.
(2) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court with the leave of the Court of Appeal from a judgment of the Court of Appeal in any cause or matter commenced in a court other than the High Court where the Court of Appeal is satisfied that the case involves a substantial question of law or it is in the public interest that the cause or matter should be heard by the Supreme Court.
(3) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court with the leave of
that Court from any other judgment of the Court of Appeal.
(4) An appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court, in any case referred to in sub-section (1), (2) or (3) at the instance of a party to the proceedings in the Court of Appeal or, with the eave of the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal, at the instance of any other person having an interest in the matter or, in a criminal cause or matter, at the instance of the Attorney General acting in the interest of justice and for the avoidance of abuse of the legal process.
Provided that in any appeal at the instance of the Attorney General, the Supreme Court shall have no power to reverse any acquittal at a court of first instance or reverse a judgment allowing an appeal against conviction of a criminal offence.