The Judiciary of Zambia is an independent arm of the government. Under Article 91(2) of the Constitution, Judges, Magistrates and Justices shall be independent, impartial and subject only to the Constitution and the law. They shall also conduct themselves in accordance with the code of conduct promulgated by parliament.
Article 91(1) of the Constitution defines the composition of the Judicature of the Republic as consisting of:
- The Supreme Court of Zambia;
- The High Court of Zambia;
- The Industrial Relations Court;
- The Subordinate Court;
- The Local Court; and
such lower Courts as may be prescribed by an Act of Parliament. For example, the Small Claims Courts established by the Small Claims Courts Act Chapter 47 of the Laws of Zambia.
Article 98 (2) provides for the tenure of offices of the Judges that they shall vacate office on attaining the age of sixty-five and they may only be removed from office for inability to perform the functions of office, whether arising from infirmity of body or mind, incompetence or misbehaviour.
The Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court are appointed by the President on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission, subject to ratification by the National Assembly as stated by Article 95 of the Constitution.
The Magistrates who preside over Subordinate Courts are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission, acting in the name of the President.
Under Article 91(3) of the Constitution the Judicature shall be autonomous and it is administered in accordance with the Judicature Administration Act Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia.
The roles or core functions of the Judiciary include the following:
- Administer justice through resolving disputes between individual and individual, and between state and individual
- Interpret the constitution and the laws of Zambia
- Promote the rule of law and contribute to the maintenance of order in society
- Safeguard the constitution and uphold democratic principles
- Protect human rights of individuals and groups
The Administration of Judicature
According to Section 3(1) of the Judicature Administration Act Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia, The President, on recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, appoints a Chief Administrator who is responsible for the day to day running of the Judicature and the implementation of resolutions of the Judicial Service Commission.
The Chief Administrator :-
- is the Controlling Officer regarding the expenditure of the Judicature within the meaning of the Finance (Control and Management) Act Chapter 347 0f the Laws of Zambia.
- Keeps books of accounts and other records in relation to the accounts of the Judicature.
- Prepares and submits financial reports concerning the activities of the Judicature to the President.
The Chief Administrator, Supreme Court Building, Box 50067, LUSAKA.
Method of Judicial Appointment
- The Judicial Service Commission is responsible for identifying and recommending candidates to the President for appointment to judicial offices.
- Article 93(1) of the Constitution states that the Chief Justice and Deputy Chief Justice shall subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President.
- Article 95(1) of the Constitution states that the Puisne Judges shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President on the advise of the Judicial Service Commission.
- The Chairman and Deputy chairman of the Industrial Relations court are also appointed by the President on advise by the Judicial Service commission as stipulated by Article 95(2) of the Constitution.
- The other members of the Judicature and it's staff are appointed under section 4 of the Judicature Administration Act, Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia.
These include the High Court Registrar, Magistrates, Justices of the Local Courts, Sheriff and other members of staff who are appointed by the Judicial Service Commission.
The Judicial Service Commission
The Judicial Service Commission is chaired by the Chief Justice. Other members of the Commission include:
- A Supreme Court Judge
- The Attorney General
- The Solicitor General
- A Member of Parliament
- The Secretary to the Cabinet
- A Legal Practitioner
- President of the Law Association of Zambia
- Dean of the School of Law
- The Chairman of the Public Service Commission