Zimbabwe’s Labour, Administrative Courts go digital

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s Labour and Administrative Courts on Wednesday migrated to the digital platform with filing of documents and application now being done online.

The development, set to streamline the running of the courts, is set to culminate in the hearing of matters at the two judicial institutions done virtually.

Judicial Services Commission secretary Walter Chikwanha said digitalisation of the two courts is expected to improve efficiency and curb corruption and bogus lawyers.

“We launched the first phase of the Integrated Electronic Case Management system (IECMS) on May 1, 2022. Now we are moving into the second phase which we are launching on 1 February 2023.

“That’s when the Labour Court and the Administrative Court are now going digital.

“Filing of documents, filing of papers, applications, reviews and so forth is going to be done electronically,” he said.

Chikwanha said cases at the Labour and Administrative Courts would soon be heard virtually.

“And the hearing of matters may also now to be done virtually both in the Labour Court and the Administrative Court starting 1 February,” he said.

JSC spokesperson Daniel Nemukuyu said digitalisation of the two courts took off without any glitches.

“The implementation of the second phase of IECMS was a success.

“At the Labour Court in Harare, we assisted 84 court users to register with the system. We received five new court cases electronically and we also received 33 requests that we dealt with in terms of the new system,” he said.

Law Society of Zimbabwe president Rumbidzai Matambo said the introduction of the electronic system was a milestone in the development of the justice delivery system.

“The ability to file court process electronically will enable legal practitioners to represent their clients effectively. Once the system is running smoothly, court procedures will be faster and more effective. This will ultimately benefit the clients as they will see justice served on time.

“The system will also reduce challenges caused by human error as it will now be a paperless process. The IECMS is, therefore, of paramount importance to us, and we applaud the JSC for bringing the court system into the fourth industrial revolution,” she said.

Matambo said the new system is expected to curb the proliferation of bogus lawyers.

“The problem is of growing concern as the ordinary citizen would not think the check if the person purporting to give them legal advice or represent them is actually a lawyer. This will not be possible with the IECMS,” she said.

Other than virtual court hearings, the public and lawyers are able to use the new system to access court judgements, track case progress online, file case documents as well as pay court fees electronically.

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