Judiciary of Zambia

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The Judiciary of Zambia is the branch of the Government of the Republic of Zambia which interprets and applies the laws of Zambia to ensure impartial justice under law and to provide a mechanism for dispute resolution. Under the Constitution of Zambia, Justices and Magistrates are independent of the government and subject only to the Constitution and the law.

According to the constitution the structure of the judicature shall comprise the Supreme Court of Zambia, the High Court of Zambia, the Industrial Relations Court, the Subordinate Court, the Local Court and such lower Courts as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament.[1]

The functions of the Judiciary include the administration of justice through resolving disputes between individuals or between individual and the state, interpreting the constitution and the laws of Zambia, promoting the rule of law, and protecting the human rights of individuals and groups.

The Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court are appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, subject to ratification by the National Assembly. The Magistrates who preside over Subordinate Courts are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, acting in the name of the President. Judges may only be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of office (whether due to infirmity of body or mind, incompetence or misbehaviour) but must retire on reaching the age of sixty-five.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court, Lusaka

The Supreme Court of Zambia is the final Court of appeal and has the final say in all legal matters, including the interpretation of the Constitution. It consists of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and 7 or more Supreme Court Judges. It is located in Independence Avenue, Lusaka.[2]

High Courts

The High Courts of Zambia have unlimited and original jurisdiction to hear and determine any civil or criminal proceedings under any law and such jurisdiction and power as may be conferred on it by the Constitution or any other law. The exception is in the field of Industrial Relations, in which the Industrial Relations Court has exclusive jurisdiction. It is a superior court of record and has jurisdiction to supervise and direct any civil or criminal proceedings taking place before any Subordinate Court or Court-martial.[3]

Industrial Relations Courts

The Industrial Relations Court has original and exclusive jurisdiction in all industrial relations matters, involving the inquiry into and making decisions in collective disputes, interpreting the terms of collective agreements and recognition agreements, and adjudicating upon any matter affecting the collective rights, obligations and privileges of employees, employers and representative organizations.[4]

The court is composed of a Chairman, a Deputy Chairmen and not more than ten members as the Minister of Labour may appoint. Currently, there are two Courts, one at Lusaka and the other at Ndola.

Subordinate Courts

These are the lower courts and the courts of the first instance, and are graded as first, second or third class. They can decide all matters except for offences of treason, murder, aggravated robbery, election petitions and all matters that involve the interpretation of the Constitution and are presided over by Resident Magistrates of appropriate status.[5]

Small Claims Courts

The Small Claims Courts deal with minor financial claims (less than K 20m) except in certain circumstances e.g. Claims for damages in respect of defamation, malicious prosecution, wrongful imprisonment, wrongful arrest, adultery and seduction, claims concerning the validity of a will and claims made under customer law.[6]

Local Courts

The Local Courts operate within territorial limits and are graded Grade A or Grade B according to the value of the claims they can consider. They are also limited in terms of the severity of the sentences they can impose.[7]

Chief Justice

Lady Justice Irene Mambilina

The Chief Justice of Zambia is an ex-officio Judge of the High Court.

List of Chief Justices [8]

References

  1. "Introduction". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  2. "Supreme Court". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  3. "High Courts". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  4. "Industrial Relations Courts". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  5. "Subordinate Courts". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  6. "Small Claims Court". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  7. "Local Courts". Judiciary of Zambia. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 
  8. "Evolution of Judiciary since 1964". Davies M.M.Chanda. Retrieved 22 February 2016. 

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