The Supreme Court has barred local government authorities from charging and collecting licence fees from legal practitioners.
The ruling comes after Harare City Council (HCC), City of Mutare and Municipality of Chinhoyi passed resolutions empowering them to promulgate by-laws enabling them to charge and collect licence fees from legal practitioners conducting business in their jurisdictions.
Justice Charles Hungwe nullified the resolutions saying that they were null and void and of no legal force or effect. He added:
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Any resolution and/or by-laws referred to in paragraph 1 above wrongfully and unlawfully interfere with the independence of the legal profession and are invalid, null and void and of no legal force or effect and any resolution and by-laws referred to in paragraph 1 above are ultra vires section 219 of the Urban Councils Act. The respondents shall pay the cost of this application.
The demands by the subnational governments, particularly HCC had caused despondency as legal practitioners opposed them.
They noted that they were paying to the Law Society of Zimbabwe hence no need to make further payments to the councils or municipalities.
Meanwhile, Harare Mayor, Hebert Gomba has said that although the HCC will comply with the court order, he stills the need for legal practitioners to contribute to the development of the city.
Local authorities have often cited inadequacy of resources as the reason why they deliver substandard services and sometimes no service at all.
More: News Day