Virtual court sittings on the way

Top Stories Zimbabwe

ZTN Correspondent

Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice, Luke Malaba has announced that plans to have court proceedings go virtual, in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, are afoot.

While officially opening the 2020 legal year the Chief Justice revealed the Judicial Services Commission has registered one Covid-19 death while 31 of its members are infected with the virus.

The statistics are as at January 5th.

“Currently there is a total of 31 confirmed cases amongst the members of the organisation. Two members are in critical condition. One died on 5 January 2021,” he said.

It in his light of this that court proceedings in Zimbabwe are set to go virtual so as to keep the country’s judicial system functional.

Currently, most court proceedings are on pause as the country is on lockdown level IV.

Only those performing essential functions related to the protection of human rights, such as mandatory initial appearance in court after arrest are operational resulting in huge backlogs.

Chief Justice Malaba noted that it was imperative to introduce virtual sittings.

“To this end, plans to introduce virtual court sittings are at an advanced stage. The process involves presentation of submissions by litigants and parties to disputes without them being required to be physically present at court.

“This digitisation of the courts and their processes has already been adopted and is in use in other jurisdictions in the region and beyond. We must as an institution see beyond the Covid-19pandemic,” he said.