OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF PROVINCIAL RESIDENT JUDGESHIP AND THE CEREMONIAL OPENING OF THE HIGH COURT CRIMINAL SESSIONS FOR 2022
Solwezi 7th February 2022 – the Hon. Chief Justice Dr. Justice Mumba Malila, SC this morning officiated at the momentous launch of the Solwezi High Court. The launch of the provincial Judgeship is pursuant to Article 120(4) of the Constitution which directs that the courts, with the exception of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, be devolved to the provinces and progressively to districts.
To this end, resident judges have now been deployed to take up their positions at the following stations: Solwezi High Court; Mongu High Court; Chipata High Court; Kasama High Court and Mansa High Court. This will facilitate the physical access to courts by the people of Zambia in the provinces and districts, in fulfillment of the broader concept of access to justice.
In his remarks, the Chief Justice thanked the Government of the Republic of Zambia and everyone who played a role in operationalizing the provincial High Court resident Judges.
Dr. Justice Malila said that “access to Justice in its wider context entails more than just positioning court houses close to the communities or shortening the distance to places where justice is dispensed and the physical state of such premises”. He added that “access to justice includes other variables and parameters like, the procedural mechanism for the resolution of disputes, the quality of the human and material resources available, the quality of justice delivered, the time it takes for the delivery of justice, the moral quality of the allocators of justice, the affordability of the cost of seeking justice in terms of time and money, the quality of the legal advisers that assist litigants and accused persons – especially, and above all, the virtuousness and impartiality of the operators of the system”
The Chief Justice added that “we are in the process of effecting widespread institutional changes/reforms in the Judiciary – starting with the cultivation of an appropriate work culture and attitude, heightening a sense of individual responsibility on the part of adjudicators and support staff as well as entrenching values for individual and institutional accountability. We are re-examining internal court rules, policies and processes, and may, if that appears necessary, begin to question obsolete, meaningless and impractical traditions and mentalities”.
He appealed to Local Government authorities, other Government and quasi government agencies and departments such as the Zambia Police Service and the social welfare department, as well as the local communities in general, in Solwezi and in all other provincial centres in which resident judges will be positioned, to extend all the necessary support and cooperation to the resident Judges and their staff. The Chief Justice highlighted the lack of resources, unavailability of court infrastructure and inadequate volumes of litigation at that level to justify the cost of placing resident judges as the reasons for the absence of resident judges.
The Ceremonial Opening of the Criminal Sessions of the High Court marks the commencement of the new legal year, setting out the goals and expectations of stakeholders in the criminal justice system for the year ahead.
Judiciary of Zambia