‘Align ConCourt rules with Con­sti­tu­tion’

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Leonard Ncube Vic­to­ria Falls Re­porter

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.

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