Wednesday, 27 February 2019

WE ARE AT BREAKING POINT : JUDGES

The workload facing judges has reached breaking point, affecting the bench’s capacity to timeously dispense with cases requiring determination, a High Court judge has said.

Justice Tawanda Chitapi said it was an open secret that the higher court operated under immense pressure due to increased workload.

He made the remarks while delivering judgment in a dispute over a residential stand in Goromonzi involving Blessing Mureyani and Ms Maggie Genti.
The hearing of the dispute commenced in November 2016 and the judgment was handed down early this month.


This was after lawyers acting for Mureyani, Mapendere and Partners, had written to the registrar of the High Court in September last year appealing for the judge to hand down judgment.

“Although I am not involved in the administration of this court and case allocations, I can safely state with conviction based on experience that the volume of work being placed before judges has reached break-point,” he said.

“This case is an example of how the honourable Judge President tries to juggle around to manage the workload.”

Justice Chitapi said he had to preside over the civil case which took long to be completed and several others despite being assigned to the criminal division.

“Time and again, the honourable Judge President in an endeavour to cut down on the backlog allocates civil matters to all judges not assigned to the civil division and it becomes the duty of the individual judge to find time for the civil case,” he remarked.

Justice Chitapi’s sentiments resonated with Chief Justice Luke Malaba’s remarks during the official opening of the 2019 Legal Year last month.

In his keynote address, the Chief Justice noted the workload of the High Court judges. He said the judges worked under extremely difficult conditions.

“It is anticipated that in 2019 what remains clear is that the Judges of that court are overworked,” he said. “More Judges are required to lessen the burden on the Judges’ shoulders.” Herald

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