Mathew Masinge, H-Metro Reporter
The judiciary will this year abide by a number of principles guiding an open justice system, Chief Justice Luke Malaba has said.
Speaking during an event to mark the first term of the 2020 legal year, Chief Justice Malaba read out his justice agenda that includes adopting live streaming of court proceedings and decentralising courts.
With 2020 running under the theme “Judicial Transparency and Accountability”, the Judicial Service Commission has also been pledged to have courts reflecting the will of the people.
“The judiciary is required to act in a transparent and accountable manner in the exercise of its functions.
“In its ordinary sense, transparency connotes a condition or quality of action which allows an observer to easily see what is done and how it is done to decide for himself or herself whether what is done presents the truth and is consistent with a prescribed rule of conduct,” said Chief Justice Malaba.
He said live broadcasting of court events will act as a mirror to society and help disseminate what happens most people miss in court rooms.
“The broadcast of our court proceedings is inescapable when seeking to disseminate information concerning the administration of justice and enforcing accountability of the judiciary.
“Few people are able to attend court proceedings at any given time, yet cases of public interest do not only affect the litigants but interests of a large section of society,” he said.
Chief Justice Malaba said the commission is also working on eliminating human contact in any given court process in order to kill corruption.
“The Commission intends to introduce an appropriate integrated electronic case management system (IECMS) which will harness the benefits of flexibility and automation which technology presents to the administration of justice,” he said.
The system will have other exciting features such as increased public access to information, reduction of case backlogs and introduction of virtual court sittings.
The judiciary boss said they will also concentrate on decentralizing courts into high density suburbs around the country.
“The Commission is considering modalities of implementing the next phase and its desire to decentralize services to high density suburbs in the metropolitan provinces of Harare and Bulawayo.
“I am happy to announce that all the preliminary work in Epworth has now been completed and procurement of building materials has commenced,” he said.
The Commission which will be celebrating its 10th anniversary on June 10 has set the day as an ‘Open Day’ for members of the public to freely appreciate functions of the courts and scrutinize processes.
The day also serves as an opportunity for school leavers to consider opportunity in the judiciary.
The Chief Justice also took time to downplay social media reports that seek to tarnish the judiciary labelling it inaccurate and false only to scandalise the Judiciary Service Commission.