Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku officially opened the 2014 legal year on Monday, praising the Magistrate Courts for managing to clear the backlog of cases last year despite severe underfunding, unattractive working conditions and poor salaries that he said should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
The Chief Justice said the Supreme Court had also done well after finalizing 78 percent of cases before it but he is concerned by the huge backlog of cases in the High and Labor courts.
Justice Chidyausiku said strategies are being worked out to clear the backlogs in the two courts.
He said it was difficult to judge the performance of the Constitutional Court since it was only set up last year following the adoption of a new constitution.
He said the Constitutional Court had finalized only 24 of the 111 cases brought before it, adding the court will be reformed to ensure the swift movement of constitutional applications.
Justice Chidyausiku said he was worried by the government’s decision to cut the retention allowance for all magistrates and the state’s failure to fulfill conditions of service for all judges.
Law Society of Zimbabwe President, Lloyd Mhishi, said his organization fully supports the call by Chief Justice Chidyausiku for the government to improve the conditions of service for members of the judiciary.
Mhishi said they also support Justice Chidyausiku’s call to expedite cases that are brought before the constitutional court.