Constitutional Court is a creature of the Constitution established in terms of section 166 of the Constitution. Courts are generally created by the Constitution. Section 167 of the Constitution provides for the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court. An Act of Parliament provides for other issues not provided for by the Constitution which are necessary to facilitate the proper functioning of the Court. In light of this, the main purpose of this Bill is to enhance the operation of the Constitutional Court. The Bill confers additional jurisdiction upon the Constitutional Court. In particular the Bill provides for the following—
Clause 1 provides for the short title of this Bill.
Clause 2 provides for interpretation of terms used in the Bill.
Clause 3 provides that the Constitutional Court must be a court of record. It further provides for the seal of the Constitutional Court which must be in the custody of the Registrar.
Clause 4 reiterates the provisions of section 166 of the Constitution in relation to the composition of the Constitutional Court.
Clause 5 provides for the manner in which decisions are made by the Constitutional Court. Decisions are made by the majority of Judges sitting at any particular time. This Clause also gives power to the Chief Justice to appoint an Acting Judge where one of the Judges is no longer able to continue sitting as the Judge due to death, physical incapacity or retirement. Generally, the decisions of the Constitutional Court are final. In the handing down of judgments, the Court shall not be bound by its previous decisions.
Clause 6 provides for an exception to the appeal procedure. Generally, the effect of the appeal in civil proceedings is that the decision made by the inferior court is suspended until the appeal is finalised. An appeal from the Supreme Court shall not suspend the decision made by the Supreme Court except where the Constitutional Court has ruled otherwise.
Clause 7 provides for the conflict of interest situation for Judges. No Judge may be permitted to sit in a matter where he or she has formally participated in the making of the previous decision concerning the same matter.
Clause 8 provides for the scope and execution of processes for the Constitutional Court. The judgments of the Constitutional Court shall be executable throughout Zimbabwe. A copy of the certified judgment handed to the Registrar of the High Court or Clerk of the Magistrates Court shall empower the Registrar or Clerk to execute the judgment of the Constitutional Court.
Clause 9 provides for the admissibility of the certified copies of judgments and records.
Clause 10 provides for the power of Chief Justice to, before the beginning of the year, publish a calendar for the sitting of the Court.
Clause 11 creates an offence of contempt of court committed by any person who demonstrates any dishonourable conduct to the Court.
This Act may be cited as the Constitutional Court Act, 2019.
In this Act—
“Chief Justice” means the Chief Justice appointed in terms of section 180 of the Constitution;