Zvikomborero Parafini, Court Reporter
Chief Justice Luke Malaba on Sunday released the practice direction for court operations during the 21-day lockdown
The practise direction applies to the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, the High Court, the Labour Court, the Administrative Court and the Magistrates Court in Zimbabwe with the intention to cover gaps resulting from the 21-day lockdown.
The lockdown is a directive from President Mnangagwa to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic which was issued last Friday.
In his practise direction, Malaba said it was issued to ensure that cases currently pending before the courts do not fall out of the system and gives direction to the filing of pleadings, process and handling of cases before the courts from March 30 to April 19.
As such, filing of new cases, all processes and pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the 21 day lockdown.
The Magistrates court shall therefore entertain initial remands, urgent applications and bail applications only.
The time limited by any rule for the filing of process and, or pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the lockdown and 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.
With regards to civil matters, they are deemed to be postponed as follows, for the Magistrates’ court, matters shall be deemed to have been postponed to the first business days following the last day of the lockdown period.
For the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court, the matters are deemed to have been postponed to the first day of the Second Term and 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.
With regards to criminal matters, Malaba said all pending criminal matters on remand shall be automatically rolled over for a period of at least 21 calendar days.
For clarity current remand dates from 30 March to 17 April have been set for 20 April to May 8 respectively.
All summons and subpoenas issued directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between 30 March and 19 April are cancelled and shall be reissued after the expiry of the lockdown period.
All sales in execution are hereby stayed for the duration of the lockdown period and the practice direction takes effect from today and shall remain in force until April 19 unless earlier extended.