- Constitutional Court [GN 252/2016]
- Supreme Court and High CourtÂ [GN 253/2016]
- Administrative Court [GN 254/2016]
- Labour Court [GN 255/2016].
Court Terms and Vacations
All the courts will have the same terms and vacations, as shown in the following table.Â Terms account for 37 weeks of the year, vacations for the remaining 15 weeks.
|First Term||Monday 16 January â€“ Friday 7 April|
|Â Easter Vacation||Â Â Saturday 8 April â€“ Sunday 14 May|
|Second Term||Monday 15 May â€“ Friday 4 August|
|Â Mid-year vacation||Â Â Sat 5 August â€“ Sunday 10 September|
|Third Term||Monday 11 September â€“ Friday 1 December|
|Â Christmas vacation||Â Â Sat 2 December â€“ Sunday 14 January 2018|
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.Â Under the circuit court calendar there will be sittings of the â€”
- Supreme Court in Bulawayo
First Circuit:Â 3 April â€“ 7 April
Second Circuit:Â 31 July â€“ 4 August
Third Circuit:Â 27 November â€“ 1 December
- High Court in Gweru, Mutare and Hwange
Gweru:Â 23 January â€“ 3 February
Mutare:Â 20 February â€“ 3 March
Hwange:Â 6 March â€“ 17 March
Gweru:Â 15 May â€“ 26 May
Mutare:Â 12 June â€“ 23 June
Hwange:Â 26 June â€“ 7 July
Gweru:Â 25 September â€“ 6 October
Mutare:Â 23 October â€“ 3 November
Hwange:Â 6 November â€“ 17 November
- Labour Court in Mutare, Hwange and Masvingo
Mutare:Â 23 January â€“ 3 February
Hwange:Â 13 February â€“ 24 February
Masvingo:Â 13 March â€“ 24 March
Mutare:Â 15 May â€“ 26 May
Hwange:Â 5 June â€“ 16 June
Masvingo:Â 10 July â€“ 21 July
Mutare:Â 18 September â€“ 29 September
Hwange:Â 9 October â€“ 20 October
Masvingo:Â 6 November â€“ 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.Â Now Masvingo has become the third permanent seat of the High Court and the first to be established since Independence in 1980.Â The court building was opened on 30th May by Vice-President Mnangagwa, who is responsible for the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs.Â 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 â€“ 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.Â The need for judges to go to Masvingo on circuit to try criminal cases has, therefore, been eliminated â€“ 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 Masterâ€™s Office at Masvingo was able to start operating before the court did.Â It will handle not only deceased estates but also other functions of the Masterâ€™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.Â So Mutare, Gweru and Hwange â€“ not necessarily in that order â€“ 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.Â Decentralisation would, however, have to be implemented in stages â€“ â€œDue 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.â€
Improved access to justice and justice delivery
The establishmentÂ 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.
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