Mathew Masinge, Court Reporter
The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has suspended the filing of new cases and court processes and will only entertain initial, urgent and bail applications until next Tuesday.
The new practice direction speaks to business at the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, Labour Court, Administrative Court and Magistrate.
The action also comes at a time the country is facing a country wide upsurge of Covid-19 cases and deaths with the country under an extended national level four lockdown.
In a statement, the JSC said the inconvenience at the local courts will persist until next Tuesday.
“With effect from 22 July 2021, the filing of new cases, process, documents, pleadings and papers shall be suspended for a period up to 27 July 2021, unless the period is earlier extended or revoked.
“The limited services that will be provided by the courts are initial remands; urgent applications and processes; and bail applications,” said JSC in a statement.
The JSC has also suspended all time limits defined by any rule of in regards to court processes.
“The time limited by any rule for the filing of process, pleadings, documents and papers shall be suspended for the duration of this period to contain the spread of the corona virus.
“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 time limit calculated from the 27th July 2021.
“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 27th of July 2021,” added the commission.
Accordingly, all court registries shall only be open for litigants and lawyers.
“The Sheriff and the Messenger of Court will be available to attend to matters that are connected or related to initial remands; urgent applications and processes and bail applications.
“Registries shall be open for litigants and legal practitioners only on week days, between 0800hrs and 1500hrs to accept process related to matters outlined in paragraph 4,” continued the statement.
Conditions for one to be allowed into court premises remain subject to temperature checks and sanitisation of hands, proper wearing of masks and adherence to social distance.
Further to the new practice direction pending civil and criminal matters have been rolled over to new dates.
“The registrars and clerks of court of the respective courts shall reset down the matters in consultation with the parties.
“All pending criminal cases originally remanded to the dates from July 22 to July 27 are rolled over to July 27 until July 30,” said JSC.