The Cabinet has approved the principles of a Bill which will force all magistrates to take an oath of office before the Chief Justice.
The Magistrates’ Court Amendment Bill was presented to Cabinet by Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi.
Speaking during a routine post-cabinet media briefing in the capital Harare on Tuesday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said:
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The principles seek to align the Act with the Zimbabwe Constitution.
The amendments seek, inter alia; to provide that all magistrates take oath of office before the Chief Justice or any other person duly delegated by the Chief Justice; to provide for the right of a litigant to be represented by a legal practitioner of their choice; the inclusion of procedures for the enforcement of the fundamental rights and freedoms of persons and to provide for the composition of magistrates court to adjudicate on criminal and civil matters.
Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi told The Herald that it is too early to talk about the provisions of the Bill since they have not yet been drafted. He said:
What was approved by Cabinet are the principles that will then guide the Attorney-General’s Office when drafting the Bill.
The amendments that we are making are minor and seek to align the Act with the Constitution by, for example including provisions that will ensure everyone has access to justice.
However, it is too early to talk about the provisions of the Bill because we do not have that at the moment.
More: The Herald