‘Align ConCourt rules with Constitution’
THE legal fraternity in the country has called for crafting of the Constitutional Court Act whose purpose will be to legitimise a number of processes and provisions in the operation of the superior court.
Following the enactment of the new Constitution of Zimbabwe in 2013, a Constitutional Court was established in terms of Section 166 with Constitutional Court Rules being drafted by the judiciary two years later.
However, there has been a gap as no Act of Parliament was crafted to legitimise provision and usage of the Constitutional Court Rules with some sections referred to as illegitimate, lawyers said.
The legal fraternity has started the process of gathering views which will be forwarded to Government for consideration towards drafting of a Bill. Speaking at the annual Bar-Bench Colloquium, an academic meeting for the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) in Victoria Falls recently, members of the legal fraternity who included senior judges, lawyers and academics concurred that a Constitutional Act should be crafted as a matter of urgency.
Constitutional law expert Dr Tarisai Mutangi who presented a paper on bridging the gap between the Constitution and Constitutional Court Rules said the Act would deal with a number of aspects of the superior court of record.
“There is demand for an Act of Parliament because the Constitution itself requires that to give more specific expression of what the Constitution requires. The Constitutional Court Act will deal with composition and structure of the Constitutional Court, its jurisdiction and establish a Constitutional
Court Registry,” he said.
Dr Musengi said the Act was necessary as part and parcel of implementing the country’s Constitution. During discussions, participants who included senior judges of all the higher courts namely High Court, Labour Court, Constitutional Court and Supreme Court noted the need to bridge the gap between the Constitution and Constitutional Court Rules.
Advocate Thembinkosi Magwaliba of the Advocate Chambers said the Constitutional Court Act will provide parentage to the Court Rules as the two provisions will complement each other towards access to justice.
JSC secretary Mr Walter Chikwana said under normal circumstances the Constitutional Court Act should have preceded the Constitutional Court Rules. He said the judiciary started the process in 2016 and now would combine contributions with the LSZ and present them to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for consideration.