Senior Court Reporter
The 2022 Legal Year opens today with Chief Justice Luke Malaba delivering the keynote address on achievements and challenges over the past 12 months and the judicial administrative agenda for this year.
Deputy Chief Justice Elizabeth Gwaunza and other Supreme Court judges are expected to preside over the opening session at the High Court in Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Chinhoyi.
ZBC and social media platforms of the Judicial Service Commission will broadcast Chief Justice Malaba’s speech, the JSC head of corporate services Mrs Constance Rudo Makoni-Thodhlana confirmed yesterday.
“The Chief Justice is expected to state his administrative agenda and achievements made by the JSC during last year.
“He will be outlining the challenges faced by the JSC in the same year and also setting out the vision and direction for the year 2022,” she said.
“Achievements and challenges recorded in the past year will be discussed together with key issues that are central to the efficient administration of the justice delivery system,” she said.
Mrs Makoni-Thodhlana said Chief Justice Malaba will also host a dinner, where he is expected to introduce the integrated electronic case management system as part of the new stress on using technology to upgrade and speed up the administration of justice.
“The Chief Justice will host a dinner at a hotel in Harare, where stakeholders are invited. He will introduce the integrated electronic case management system to the invited stakeholders.
“He will give his remarks and expected to explain how the new system is set to transform operations of the courts by bringing convenience and efficiency to all court users,” she said.
The JSC recently said the designing of a paperless system for the superior courts was now complete and that it was in the process of starting to train staff on how to operate the new system.
The Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and Commercial Court (a division of the High Court) will be the first to go paperless under the new system, which allows all court submissions to be submitted in digital form, reducing delays and cutting costs.
After the launch of the first phase of the electronic system in the first quarter of this year, the JSC will move to the second phase where the programme will be taken to the rest of the High Court, Labour Court, Administrative Court, magistrates courts and the office of the Sheriff.
Lawyers will be expected to send their submissions through the internet.
“The system has already been designed. This is in respect of the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court and the Commercial Court. We were supposed to launch the paperless courts in January 2022, but we feel we require a month or two to do a test run and to ensure the staff deployed to the courts in question, is adequately trained to operate the system.
“We also need to procure the data centre before the launch, which will be held at the end of the first quarter of this year,” JSC secretary Mr Walter Chikwana was recently quoted as saying.
The JSC is in the process of constructing courts in high density suburbs with an aim of taking the justice delivery system close to where the bulk of people stay.
Construction of Epworth Magistrates Court in Harare is at an advanced stage with more courts expected to be built in Glen Norah and Budiriro while in Bulawayo they will be established in Nkulumane and Entumbane.