Mr Acting Prosecutor General, Mr Attorney-General and Advocate Fitches, we interact at the beginning of yet another new year. This is an opportunity, once again, to reflect on the operations of the courts and account to the people of Zimbabwe by giving a report on the work carried out by the Judiciary in 2022, as well as pronouncing on targets and objectives for 2023. The Legal Year Opening Speech provides the Judiciary with one of the occasions of accounting to the people for the exercise of the authority they vested in it as a constitutional body for their benefit. The Judiciary uses the occasion to comment on issues of concern to its public image as a constitutional institution which by their nature may not be addressed by courts in judgments.
The past year goes down in the country's judicial history as the year in which the journey to digitise operations of the courts commenced with the adoption of the Integrated Electronic Case Management System – “the IECMS”. It is also the year in which the Judiciary saw the establishment and opening of the first paperless court in Zimbabwe in the form of the stand-alone Commercial Division of the High Court. In line with the governmental policy of devolution as a constitutional imperative, the Judicial Service Commission opened more circuit courts. The Judicial Service Commission further consolidated the operations of the Judicial Training Institute of Zimbabwe by adopting measures that enable it to efficiently implement the programmes of organising and managing the training of judicial and non-judicial members of the Judicial Service.