STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka
CHIEF Justice Irene Mambilima says the judiciary is not compromised but acts independently.
Speaking to journalists shortly after officiating at the launch of the Court Reporters Association of Zambia, Mrs Justice Mambilima said nobody tells the judiciary how to decide cases.
“Cases are decided according to the law.
Not even myself has the mandate to interfere in any case or can talk to any magistrate concerning a case before them.
“Magistrates, including local court magistrates, make independent decisions based on the law,” Mrs Justice Mambilima said.
Mrs Justice Mambilima said she is aware of the attacks on the judiciary but advised those aggrieved with certain judgments to appeal as the law provides for such.
She said there are checks and balances which the aggrieved can use.
And Justice Mambilima said court reporters play a critical role in the timely delivery of justice.
She said the introduction of real-time court reporters has brought a significant change in the speedy disposal of cases.
Mrs Justice Mambilima said real-time court reporters have also added efficiency in the recording of court proceedings and producing verbatim records of proceedings.
“Real-time court reporters were successfully trained and at least these met the minimum requirement to effectively and efficiently service the Supreme Court, Constitutional Court, Court of Appeal and High Court and occasionally the Subordinate Court,” Mrs Justice Mambilima said.
She was speaking yesterday during the launch of the Court Reporters Association of Zambia (CRAZ).
Mrs Justice Mambilima said in 2008, the judiciary and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) signed an agreement on the computerisation of the court, an agreement aimed at increasing efficiency.
She said the computerisation of the judiciary had a number of key components and milestones, and of relevance has been the training of court staff in the newly-adopted computerised and automated courtrooms.
Mrs Justice Mambilima said the judiciary, despite having a tight budget, has continued to prioritise the training of real-time court reporters.
“The establishment of the Court Reporters Association of Zambia is a big milestone in enhancing the performance of our court reporters and ultimately ensuring quick disposal of cases,” she said.
CRAZ president Kambole Ng’andu said the establishment of the association will enable Zambian court reporters to be affiliated to international training institutions.
Mr Ng’andu said there are 85 real-time court reporters in the country.