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HIGH Court.

Effective justice system is a must

IMPROVING the delivery of justice and making it affordable for all are an urgent matter.  It is therefore commendable that Government has taken measures to do just that.
We all get affected by issues of justice in one way or another.  If we are not the ones seeking justice, it may be a close relative or a friend craving fairness.  Any delay in the dispensation of justice, no matter how justifiable it may seem, is unfair.
It is therefore gratifying to see that Government, in its efforts to enhance the justice system in Zambia, wants to improve the mode of delivery and at the same time make it cheaper for most people to access.
There are many instances of complaints about delays accused persons experience in the delivery of justice. Justice delayed against one who seeks it results in the denial of that justice and this is what Government wants to prevent.
As one of the three arms of Government, the judiciary is cardinal in promoting transparency and the quick handing down of justice provides an avenue for that transparency.
There are times when plaintiffs or defendants express dissatisfaction about delays in their cases.  Often this is caused by prosecutors and defence lawyers seeking adjournments for one reason or another.
Some of such requests for adjournments have prompted magistrates and judges to warn against this delaying of justice.
We know that sometimes the legal representatives are overwhelmed by the number of cases they have hence the requests for adjournments.
We also know that magistrates and judges, too, could have clogged diaries and adjournments would take months and at times stretch into years.
This is what should be avoided, especially that some cases have no provision for bail and so the suspects remain behind bars.
It is good though that the Judiciary has increased the number of criminal sessions in its quest to improve the delivery time of justice.  This is commendable.
It is out of the realisation of this that Government wants to have an efficient and effective judicial system that will enhance Zambia’s human rights record through the timely delivery of justice.
Government’s desire to uphold the independence of the judiciary is a demonstration of its commitment to enhancing the rule of law and urging judicial officers to play their part.
President Lungu has assured that Government is anxious to improve service delivery and this should encourage judicial officers to help drive the country to higher levels of prosperity and meet the aspirations of the people.
There is a general contention that the poor cannot afford quality legal representation.
We urge lawyers to up their pro bono contribution.
By making justice cheaper for all, Government is working towards improving access to justice and enabling every citizen to seek protection of the law.
Further, Government seeks to extend the delivery of justice through the proposed Constitutional court and court of appeal.
This is another commendable move as the country is moving to higher levels of development.
While these measures are being implemented, there is need to increase the number of judicial officers. This will help in the speedy handling of cases.
The need to have more judicial officers becomes more pronounced in an election year when the number of cases tends to be higher before and after the election.
Setting up the Constitutional court should help resolve this matter.