Court business to resume next week: Chief Justice

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Chief Justice Luke Malaba

All court operations are set to resume next week after President Emmerson Mnangagwa eased restrictions on the lockdown measures put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE/Richard Muponde

In a new operational directive, Chief Justice Luke Malaba said all courts shall become operational with effect from Monday next week and registries shall be open for litigants from 8am to 3pm in line with the level 2 lockdown guidelines announced by Mnangagwa.

“All courts shall become operational with effect from May 11. Registries shall be open for litigants, legal practitioners and the public on week days between 8am to 3pm, while filing of court papers including process of pleading shall proceed in terms of the applicable rules, legislation or court order,” Justice Malaba said.

He said the sheriff shall serve all other papers and orders except carrying out evictions, executions or conducting sales in execution for the duration of the lockdown.

Solemnisation of marriages remains suspended for the duration of the lockdown.

“Litigants and other court users shall, at all times, be subjected to temperature checks and sanitisation of hands at entrance, wear face masks, avoid person-to-person contact and maintain social distancing of at least one metre apart.”

Mnangagwa on Friday extended the lockdown to May 17 and downgraded it to level 2, making it mandatory for the public to wear masks in public places.

“Any person who does not comply with the requirements specified in paragraph 12 shall not be allowed to enter into the courthouse or courtroom; or shall be asked to leave the courtroom or the courthouse. Entry into courtrooms shall be limited to litigants, their legal practitioners, witnesses and members of the Press,” he said.

“Litigants who are required to attend court in a province or district other than where they are normally resident shall obtain the necessary letters of clearance at the nearest police station,” Justice Malaba added.