Court Calendars for 2017

The official Court Calendars for next year, 2017, have been gazetted. The calendars show next year’s court terms and vacations for the “superior courts”, i.e., Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Administrative Court and Labour Court.

court2The calendars are outlined in the following paragraphs.  The complete texts of the official notices are available on the Veritas website using the links provided below—

Court Terms and Vacations

All the courts will have the same terms and vacations, as shown in the following table.  Terms account for 37 weeks of the year, vacations for the remaining 15 weeks.

Term/Vacation Dates
First Term Monday 16 January – Friday 7 April
  Easter Vacation    Saturday 8 April – Sunday 14 May
Second Term Monday 15 May – Friday 4 August
  Mid-year vacation    Sat 5 August – Sunday 10 September
Third Term Monday 11 September – Friday 1 December
  Christmas vacation    Sat 2 December – Sunday 14 January 2018


Circuit Courts

In each of the three court terms, the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Labour Court will also will sit on circuit, holding brief sessions at centres away from their permanent seats.  Under the circuit court calendar there will be sittings of the —

  • Supreme Court in Bulawayo

First Circuit:  3 April – 7 April

Second Circuit:  31 July – 4 August

Third Circuit:  27 November – 1 December

  • High Court in Gweru, Mutare and Hwange

First Circuit

Gweru:  23 January – 3 February

Mutare:  20 February – 3 March

Hwange:  6 March – 17 March

Second Circuit

Gweru:  15 May – 26 May

Mutare:  12 June – 23 June

Hwange:  26 June – 7 July

Third Circuit

Gweru:  25 September – 6 October

Mutare:  23 October – 3 November

Hwange:  6 November – 17 November

  • Labour Court in Mutare, Hwange and Masvingo

First Circuit

Mutare:  23 January – 3 February

Hwange:  13 February – 24 February

Masvingo:  13 March – 24 March

Second Circuit

Mutare:  15 May – 26 May

Hwange:  5 June – 16 June

Masvingo:  10 July – 21 July

Third Circuit

Mutare:  18 September – 29 September

Hwange:  9 October – 20 October

Masvingo:  6 November – 17 November

Decentralisation of the High Court:

Masvingo High Court is Now Operational

Bulawayo and Harare have had a permanent High Court presence since the beginning of the 20th century.  Now Masvingo has become the third permanent seat of the High Court and the first to be established since Independence in 1980.  The court building was opened on 30th May by Vice-President Mnangagwa, who is responsible for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.  Justices Joseph Mafusire and Garainesu Mawadze, formerly at the High Court in Harare, were assigned to the Masvingo High Court with effect from 1st September and started hearing cases at the beginning of the third term of this year on 12th September.

Criminal cases – no further need for High Court Circuit to Masvingo

High Court criminal cases from Masvingo Province and some parts of Matabeleland South and Manicaland will be dealt with on a continuous basis in the new Masvingo High Court.  The need for judges to go to Masvingo on circuit to try criminal cases has, therefore, been eliminated – which is why the High Court calendar for 2017, as outlined above, makes no provision for the High Court to travel to Masvingo on circuit.

Civil cases and Office of the Master of the High Court

The Masvingo High Court will also deal with civil cases.

The Master’s Office at Masvingo was able to start operating before the court did.  It will handle not only deceased estates but also other functions of the Master’s Office.

More decentralisation to come

The establishment of the Masvingo High Court is the first stage in the planned decentralisation of the High Court to other provincial capitals served as circuit courts.  So Mutare, Gweru and Hwange – not necessarily in that order – will also have their own permanent High Courts in due course.

In his address at the beginning of the 2016 legal year the Chief Justice explained that the decentralisation strategy was prompted by the realisation that the number of arrests by the police in the provinces is by far exceeding the rate at which the circuit courts are clearing the cases emanating from the provinces.  Decentralisation would, however, have to be implemented in stages – “Due to the financial outlays that are necessary when setting up a permanent court, we will not be able to establish permanent High Court stations at all these centres in one fell swoop. What will inform when and where we are to set up a High first will include among other considerations, the statistics coming from each province and the availability of suitable infrastructure to house a High Court. This will also determine the number of judges to be deployed to each station.”

Improved access to justice and justice delivery

The establishment  of High Courts in provincial centres should greatly enhance both access to justice by those seeking it and faster, more efficient and effective justice delivery.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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