President Emmerson Mnangagwa officially opened the Commercial Court, a division of the High Court, on May 6, 2022 which he said is set to boost investor confidence as commercial disputes will be settled with speed and efficiency
The opening of the specialised court, at the newly refurbished Bristol House along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue in Harare, comes at a time the Judicial Service Commission is working towards dealing with increased workload at local courts.
The Judicial Service Commission is also set to introduce the Integrated Electronic Case Management System (IECMS), a web-based case management system, which tracks all aspects of a case life cycle.
Phase one will connect the newly-installed Commercial Division of the High Court, Constitutional Court and Supreme Court.
Phase two will connect other divisions of the High Court, Labour Court, Administrative Court, Magistrate Court and Sheriff of the High Court.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, accompanied by Vice President General Retired Dr Constantino Chiwenga among other senior government officials, toured the Court, which houses six Court rooms and seven Judge’s chambers.
President Mnangagwa said this will bolster investor confidence.
“This standalone commercial division of the High Court will undoubtedly enhance the confidence of the public and investors alike,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said the court requires higher levels of accountability among the judges, given its mandate to deal with complex issues.
“The Commercial Court will be charged with handling complex and high value national and international business disputes. This is in line with the Second Republic’s goal of engendering investment and employment creation,” he added.
The President also outlined government’s commitment to continue equipping the country’s courts to improve efficiency.
While the establishment of the court is a major milestone, President Mnangagwa, bemoaned the rising cases of misconduct among judges.
“Within a period of 3 years we have had tribunals set up in terms of the Constitution to deal with alleged cases of misconduct among judges,” noted the President.
The Second Republic is on a drive to improve the justice delivery system through the decentralisation of operations to all corners of the country.
The Commercial Court is expected to improve the ease of doing business in line with the criteria set by the World Bank.
World Bank Country Director Mrs Marjory Mpundu commended the Second Republic for financial sector reforms, while Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr John Mangudya was full of praise for the milestone.
“This is indeed commendable. The World Bank group supported the idea to improve the investment environment in Zimbabwe. We have seen a number of positive reforms in Zimbabwe for instance in 2015, it used to take 90 days to register a company in Zimbabwe, but now it takes less than 20 days. As World Bank we will continue supporting the initiative to strengthen the investment environment,” said Mpundu.
“The opening of the Commercial Court is a critical milestone and it promotes the ease of doing business. It also foster discipline in the financial sector,” said Mangudya.
Legal experts, who welcomed the development, are convinced that the establishment of the commercial court is a milestone achievement in the justice delivery system.
“As legal experts we welcome the development and it is a milestone achievement in the justice delivery system. Of late our litigants have been finding it difficult to have their cases heard before the courts, since there was no specific court to deal with such issues,” explained Advocate Magwaliba.
Chief Justice Luke Malaba is confident that the commercial court will put an end to frustrations emanating from delays in resolving commercial disputes.
“It brings a refreshing in adjudication of matters as it will allow judges to deal with commercial disputes expeditiously. The commissioning of the commercial court as we are witnessing today is a step up ladder in the justice delivery system. This assures investors that Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination,” he said.
The new court is another landmark achievement after the Second Republic built a multi-million dollar Court building in Chinhoyi while another court is under construction in Epworth, Harare.
President Mnangagwa said the commercial courts will bring confidence in investors as commercial disputes will be resolved fairly, and timeously.