Operational Directions for the Courts During Following Periods: (1) 4th to 10th May and (2) 11th May until End of Level 2 Lockdown
On Sunday 3rd May – following the gazetting of the Level 2 Phased Relaxation of the COVID-19 National Lockdown by SI 99/2020 – the Chief Justice issued the following self-explanatory Practice Direction 3 of 2020.
The Practice Direction refers to two earlier Practice Directions, both available on the Veritas website: Practice Direction 1 of 2020 [see Court Watch 3/2020] and Practice Direction 2 of 2020 [see Court Watch 4/2020]
Note: The last two paragraphs of the Practice Direction fix its effective dates as follows:
- paragraphs 3 and 4 take effect from 4 May 2020 and shall remain in force until 10 May 2020;
- all the other paragraphs take effect from 11 May 2020 and shall remain in force until the expiry of the Level 2 Lockdown period.
Practise Direction 3 of 2020: Operational Directions for the Courts During Level 2 Lockdown
- This practice direction is issued to replace the operational instructions announced in practice directions 1 and 2 of 2020 and applies to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Labour Court, the Administrative Court, and the Magistrates’ Courts in Zimbabwe.
- Following the proclamation on 1 May 2020 by His Excellency, the President that the country is moving into level 2 lockdown from 4 May 2020, these directions are issued to guide court operations during the level 2 lockdown period.
- For the purposes of implementing the measures introduced under level 2 lockdown, Practice Direction number 1 of 2020 as amended shall remain effective until the 10th of May 2020.
- Accused persons automatically remanded to dates between 4 May 2020 and 8 May 2020 under Practice Direction 2 of 2020, will be remanded by the courts to dates after 11 May 2020.
- All courts shall become operational with effect from 11 May 2020.
- Court functions and duties shall proceed in the manner set out in this practice direction.
- Registries shall be open for litigants, legal practitioners and the public on week days, between 0800hrs and 1500hrs.
- Filing of court documents, including process and pleadings, shall proceed in terms of the applicable rules, legislation or court order.
- Matters must be heard and determined expeditiously to avoid unnecessary attendances by litigants at courts.
- The Sheriff shall serve all other process and orders, but shall not carry out evictions, executions or conduct sales in execution for the duration of the lockdown period.
- Solemnisation of marriages shall remain suspended for the duration of lockdown period.
- Litigants and other court users shall at all times:-
- i. be subjected to temperature checks and sanitisation of hands at entrances;
- ii. wear face masks;
- iii. avoid person to person contact; and
- iv. maintain social distancing of at least one metre apart.
- Any person who does not comply with the requirements specified in paragraph 12 shall not be allowed to enter into the courthouse or courtroom; or shall be asked to leave the courtroom or the courthouse.
- Entry into court rooms shall be limited to litigants, their legal practitioners, witnesses and members of the press.
- Entry into courthouses shall not be permitted for members of the public who have no business at court.
- Litigants who are required to attend Court in a Province or District other than where they are normally resident shall obtain the necessary letters of clearance at the nearest police station.
- Paragraphs 3 and 4 take effect from 4 May 2020 and shall remain in force until 10 May 2020.
- All the other paragraphs of this practice direction take effect from 11 May 2020 and shall remain in force until the expiry of the Level 2 Lockdown period.
Hon. Mr Justice L Malaba
Chief Justice of Zimbabwe