Some Zimbabwean lawyers have praised the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) for planning to set up a permanent High Court station in Mutare, Manicaland province, saying it may go a long way in clearing 137 outstanding cases.
Speaking at the official opening of the 2016 legal year in the region, Justice Charles Hungwe, said the setting up of a High Court station in the city would play a critical role in delivering justice to local people.
Justice Hungwe also noted that the JSC was also planning to set up a High Court station in Masvingo. He said such a move would address the perennial backlog of criminal trials.
He said a High Court should ideally be manned by at least two, if not three judges, if theses courts are to fully discharge their functions.
Justice Hungwe said a circuit court deals only with criminal trials and on an exceptional and rare basis, urgent matters. He said setting up of a fully-fledged station has always been considered a high vale investment.
The announcement by Justice Hungwe was hailed by Mutare lawyers, who said it was a step in the right direction.
Blessing Nyamaropa of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said a permanent High Court base would enable local people to easily access justice.
"It's a very welcome move for us to have a permanent High Court in Mutare. It will be easy for people to have access to justice."
Another senior Mutare attorney, Rangarirayi Mubata, said the setting up of a High Court station was overdue.
"We have said it before that such a move is long overdue. It will be good for business and for clients," he said.
David Tandiri, of Tandiri Law Chambers, added that efforts being made by the JSC would be convenient for witnesses, the accused, court officials and lawyers.
"We are of that idea because people of Manicaland have the right to access justice."
Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister, Mandi Chimene, hoped that the establishment of permanent High Court structures would also enable journalists to write detailed stories about justice delivery in the region.