By Fidelis Munyoro
Chief Court Reporter
Normal court operations, including the offices of the Master and Sheriff of the High Court resume nationwide with effect from today following the relaxation of the national lockdown measures.
During the period of the extended lockdown, courts were operating under a special regime as the country was battling to contain rising Covid-19 cases especially after the festive season.
Soon after President Mnangagwa’s announcement of new lockdown measures yesterday, Chief Justice Luke Malaba issued a memo also known as the “Practice Direction”, on the resumption of courts.
He said the latest practice direction applied to the Constitutional Court, Supreme Court, High Court (including the offices of the Master and Sheriff,), Labour Court, Administrative Court and the Magistrates’ Courts (including the Messenger of Court).
“The filing and processing of new cases, process, documents, pleadings, papers and court orders, including service and execution by the Sheriff and the Messenger of Court, shall be done in terms of the applicable court rules, legislation or court order,” said Chief Justice Malaba.
“For the avoidance of doubt accused persons originally remanded between 5 January and I March 2021, remain automatically remanded to the dates stated in practice direction 4 of 2021.”
Chief Justice Malaba said solemnisation of marriages should be conducted on condition that only the parties to the marriage and their witnesses attend.
The lockdown was extended twice this year in January and February.
Following extension of the lockdown, the courts were required to restrict their activities only to urgent cases such as initial remands, urgent chamber and bail applications.
Proceedings for non-urgent cases both criminal and civil matters were automatically suspended for the extended period of the lockdown which expired yesterday.