Zimbabwe: President to Commission Commercial Court

26 April 2022

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is expected to officially commission the newly-established Commercial Court division of the High Court next week.

Renovation of Bristol House that will house the court along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue is now complete.

The court is designed to improve the ease of doing business in line with the criteria set by the World Bank and contribute towards the national effort in attracting local and foreign direct investment.

However, its core function is the expeditious resolution of commercial disputes according to international best practices to enhance efficient justice delivery.

The resolution of commercial disputes has evolved over time with changing technology and changes in practices, prompting the Judicial Service Commission to move with time to establish commercial courts.

This also gives impetus to President Mnangagwa's administration that seeks to have the legal system of dispute resolution moulded to business needs and exigencies.

The setting up of the Commercial Court is in line with the provisions of the Constitution which allows for the High Court to be divided into specialised divisions.

The current specialised divisions of the High Court are the Electoral Court, Fiscal Appeal Court, Special Court for Income Tax Appeals, the intellectual Property Tribunal and the criminal, civil and family law divisions.

In terms of the Constitution, Chief Justice Malaba, in consultation with the Judge President, is empowered create a specialised division of the High Court to specialise in the adjudication of cases in the fields of commercial law.

This saw the Chief Justice in January 2019 appointing a committee tasked to draft the Rules for the Commercial Court, a division of the High Court. This special committee constituted selected members of the legal profession and the JSC secretariat chaired by High Court judge, Justice Joseph Mafusire.

The other members of the committee were veteran lawyers Messrs Edwin Manikai, Tinoziva Bere, Addington Chinake, and JSC secretariat members Mr Sithembinkosi Msipa, and Mrs Renika Dzikiti.

In April 2019, the committee handed over the draft Commercial Court Rules to the Chief Justice for other processes necessary for formal promulgation into law.

The draft rules of the court were drafted against a certain set of values that underpin the establishment and operation of the court.

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