Commercial courts on the cards 

Source: Commercial courts on the cards | The Herald 19 JAN, 2019

Commercial courts on the cards
Chief Justice Malaba

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) will this year prioritise the setting up of the commercial division of the High Court, which will handle commercial disputes, to compliment Government’s thrust to open up the country for business.

Speaking during the official opening of the 2019 legal year, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said President Mnangagwa’s initiative was dedicated to improving the state of the country’s economy through encouraging the re-opening of factories and inviting foreign direct investment.

“Such initiatives inevitably result in increased commercial disputes,” he said.

“The judiciary will not be caught napping. Modern infrastructure and systems must be put in place to ensure that such commercial disputes when they come to court are dealt with fairly and expeditiously.

“It is a system designed to bring confidence in the court system by business people both within and outside Zimbabwe.”

To show its intent, the JSC has acquired Bristol House, the building from which the Labour Court is currently operating.

The building is now earmarked to house the commercial division of the High Court.

Its customisation into a state-of the art commercial court building will begin once the Labour Court has relocated to a more spacious building near the Rotten Row courts.

The JSC secretariat is in the process of renovating and modifying the building to fit the needs of the Labour Court.

Chief Justice Malaba said during the course of the year, the JSC will ensure that the process of drafting rules which will regulate the procedure and other operations of the division commences without further delay.

“Shortly, I will in consultation with the Judge President of the High Court, set up a committee made up of judicial officers, registrars and legal practitioners to spearhead the drafting of the rules,” he said.

The Chief Justice said the decision was in line with the resolution passed during the Bar-Bench Colloquium, jointly hosted in Victoria Falls by the JSC and the Law Society of Zimbabwe.

He said the JSC was finalising the procurement of software for the installation of an integrated electronic case management system in the Commercial Court building.

“My vision is that when the Commercial Court opens its doors to the public it must be a paperless court. All its processes must be managed electronically.”

Chief Justice Malaba also said the separation of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court should be completed by May next year. This, he said was a requirement of the law that could not be circumvented.

Said the Chief Justice: “A separate Supreme Court must exist with its own judges, registry staff and building. The JSC has already started putting in place administrative measures which will facilitate compliance with the law when the time comes.”