Thinley Namgay 

Bhutan National Legal Institute (BNLI) organised a two-day training for the bench clerks on ‘interpretation of laws’ in Thimphu yesterday.

There is a need for the country’s judicial system to understand the importance of the bench clerks to assist the judges in the judicial proceedings. In other words, the whole activity is to bridge the gap between the courts and the members of the public who approach courts for judicial services.

The training is in line with the BNLI’s long-term goal to build capacity and to enhance judicial education for those in the system.

More than 30 bench clerks from 12 drungkhag, dzongkhag, high court and supreme court are attending the training.

Senior judges are among the programme’s trainers.

BNLI’s director general, Lobzang Rinzin Yargay, said that clerks interpreted the laws and drafted the judgments. “With this training, clerks will be well-versed in the rules and the principles of interpretation of laws because the primary functions of the judiciary is to interpret the laws passed by the Parliament. But if we don’t have the capacity to interpret the laws professionally, the legislative intent may not be satisfied.”

The bench clerks play a vital role in judicial proceedings such as study and to analyse the case, summon the parties for hearing, help the judges to hear the case, and to help the judges to draft the judgments.

Lobzang Rinzin Yargay said that clerks had to undergo a two-year diploma in national laws at Royal Institute of Management and other relevant training to upgrade their professional capacity.

There are more than 250 bench clerks in the country today. Thirty bench clerks of 15 courts took part in the first phase training in Paro last year.

Chief Justice Chogyal Dago Rigdzin graced the opening ceremony of the training.