COURT WATCH 3/2020
[30th March 2020]
Chief Justice’s Practice Direction 1 of 2020 on
Court Operations during the 21-day National Shutdown
The Chief Justice yesterday issued the following self-explanatory Practice Direction effective from today, Monday 30th March 2020 and until Sunday 19th April, unless earlier extended.
PRACTICE DIRECTION 1 OF 2020
COURT OPERATIONS DURING THE 21 DAY COVID-19 NATIONAL LOCKDOWN
1) This practice direction applies to the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Labour Court, the Administrative Court and the Magistrates’ Courts in Zimbabwe and is issued to cover gaps resulting from the 21 day national lockdown directive to combat the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic issued by His Excellency, the President effective 30 March 2020.
2) To ensure that cases currently pending before the courts do not fall out of the system, this practice direction is issued to give directions to the filing of pleadings, process and handling of cases before the Courts from 30 March 2020 to 19 April 2020.
Filing of new cases, process and pleadings
3) Subject to paragraph 4, with effect from 30 March 2020, the filing of new cases, all process and pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the national lock down.
4) Subject to existing limitations, only initial remands, urgent applications and bail applications may be entertained.
5) The time limited by any rule for the filing of process and or pleadings shall be suspended for the duration of the national lockdown.
6) 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 limit calculated from the first business day following the last day of the lockdown period.
7) 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 first business day after the last day of the lockdown period.
8) All pending civil cases are deemed to have been postponed as follows:-
a. For the Magistrates’ Court, matters shall be deemed to have been postponed to the first business day following the last day of the lockdown period.
b. For the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court, Labour Court and Administrative Court, the matters are deemed to have been postponed to the first day of the second term. The Registrars of the respective courts shall reset the matters down in consultation with the parties.
Provided that the Sheriff of the High Court will not charge the cost of service for such matters.
10. All pending criminal cases on remand shall be automatically rolled over for a period of at least 21 calendar days.
11. For clarity, the remand dates shall be as follows:-
Current remand dates
New date of remand
30 March 2020
20 April 2020
31 March 2020
21 April 2020
1 April 2020
22 April 2020
2 April 2020
23 April 2020
3 April 2020
24 April 2020
6 April 2020
27 April 2020
7 April 2020
28 April 2020
8 April 2020
29 April 2020
9 April 2020
30 April 2020
10 April 2020
4 May 2020
14 April 2020
5 May 2020
15 April 2020
6 May 2020
16 April 2020
7 May 2020
17 April 2020
8 May 2020
12. All summonses and subpoenas issued directing accused persons and witnesses to appear in court between 30 March 2020 and 19 April 2020 are cancelled and shall be reissued after the expiry of the lockdown period.
13. All sales in execution are hereby stayed for the duration of the lockdown period.
14. This Practice Direction takes effect from 30 March 2020 and shall remain in force until 19 April 2020, unless earlier extended.
Hon. Mr Justice L Malaba
Chief Justice of Zimbabwe
29 March 2020