COURT WATCH 3/2020 - COURT OPERATIONS DURING 21-DAY NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

COURT WATCH 3/2020

[30th March 2020]

Chief Justice’s Practice Direction 1 of 2020 on

Court Operations during the 21-day National Shutdown

The Chief Justice yesterday issued the following self-explanatory Practice Direction effective from today, Monday 30th March 2020 and until Sunday 19th April, unless earlier extended.

PRACTICE DIRECTION 1 OF 2020

COURT OPERATIONS DURING THE 21 DAY COVID-19 NATIONAL LOCKDOWN

Application

1) This practice direction applies to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Labour Court, the Administrative Court and the Magistrates’ Courts in Zimbabwe and is issued to cover gaps resulting from the 21 day national lockdown directive to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic issued by His Excellency, the President effective 30 March 2020.

General Note

2)  To ensure that cases currently pending before the courts do not fall out of the system, this practice direction is issued to give directions to the filing of pleadings, process and handling of cases before the Courts from 30 March 2020 to 19 April 2020.

Filing of new cases, process and pleadings

3) Subject to paragraph 4, with effect from 30 March 2020, the filing of new cases, all process and pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the national lock down.

4) Subject to existing limitations, only initial remands, urgent applications and bail applications may be entertained.

Dies induciae

5) The time limited by any rule for the filing of process and or pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the national lockdown.

6) Any act required by the rules to have been done during the period of the lockdown within a specified period of time, shall be done within the specified limit calculated from the first business day following the last day of the lockdown period.

7) Any act which would have been due within the remaining period of a dies induciae, shall be due to be done within the same remaining period of the dies induciae, calculated from the first business day after the last day of the lockdown period.

Civil matters

8) All pending civil cases are deemed to have been postponed as follows:-

a. For the Magistrates’ Court, matters shall be deemed to have been postponed to the first business day following the last day of the lockdown period.

b. For the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court, the matters are deemed to have been postponed to the first day of the second term. The Registrars of the respective courts shall reset the matters down in consultation with the parties. 

    Provided that the Sheriff of the High Court will not charge the cost of service for such matters.

Criminal matters

10. All pending criminal cases on remand shall be automatically rolled over for a period of at least 21 calendar days.

11. For clarity, the remand dates shall be as follows:-

 

Current remand dates

New date of remand

30 March 2020

20 April 2020

31 March 2020

21 April 2020

1 April 2020

22 April 2020

2 April 2020

23 April 2020

3 April 2020

24 April 2020

6 April 2020

27 April 2020

7 April 2020

28 April 2020

8 April 2020

29 April 2020

9 April 2020

30 April 2020

10 April 2020

4 May 2020

14 April 2020

5 May 2020

15 April 2020

6 May 2020

16 April 2020

7 May 2020

17 April 2020

8 May 2020

 

12.  All  summonses and subpoenas issued directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between 30 March     2020 and 19 April 2020 are cancelled and shall be reissued after the expiry of the lockdown period.

13. All sales in execution are hereby stayed for the duration of the lockdown period.

Effective date

14. This Practice Direction takes effect from 30 March 2020 and shall remain in force until 19 April 2020, unless earlier extended.

 

Hon. Mr Justice L Malaba

Chief Justice of Zimbabwe

HARARE

29 March 2020

 

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