Rushed judgments a let down: Chiweshe

Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
THE judge President, Justice George Chiweshe, has slammed judges for letting down the judiciary system by delivering rushed judgments with little value at law.

Opening the 2016 legal year on Monday in Bulawayo, Justice Chiweshe said judges were stampeding to churn out judgments, most with little or no jurisprudential value.

“The current directive is that all judgements must be treated as reportable and posted on the website. The result has been that judgments of little or no significance are given the status they don’t deserve. They’re posted on the website as if they were Zimbabwe’s best,” said Justice Chiweshe.

“And if you write a judgment and don’t treat it as “reportable” (regardless of its significance) your endeavours will count for nothing. Stints in the weekly unopposed motion court where judgments are hard to come by will not give you credit either”.

Justice Chiweshe said the directive to have all judgments posted on the website was compromising the justice delivery system.

“Further, unless you’re able to generate a website judgment in this way, your efforts will not be recognised. The question that will be asked isn’t how many cases you’ve cleared but how many judgments you’ve sent through,” he said.

“If you conduct a pre-trial and in the process it gets the parties to settle, no credit will be posted to your account. Similarly if you deliver an ex tempore (verbal) judgment in court your efforts will not be recognised”.

Justice Chiweshe said the editorial staff responsible for the selection and compilation of judgments for inclusion in the law reports are having a torrid time, sifting through such volumes of judgments hoping to find those that meet the criteria for inclusion in the law reports.

“My question is should a superior court such as the High Court operate in this manner. Should this be the practice of this court?” asked Justice Chiweshe.

Last year, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku named some of the top performing judges.

Opening the 2015 legal year in Harare, the Chief Justice singled out Justice Nicholas Mathonsi for special mention after the former Bulawayo High Court judge wrote a staggering 72 judgments in 2014.

The country’s top judge listed other hard workers in the top five as Justices Nokuthula Moyo (Bulawayo), Priscilla Chigumba (Harare), Loice Matanda Moyo (Harare) and Charles Hungwe (Harare).

Chief Justice Chidyausiku did not reveal names of the lazy ones, but said there was no justification for their poor performance as they operated in the same environment with the top performers.

Roman Catholic Archbishop Father Alex Thomas gave an opening prayer at the event that was attended by Minister of state for Bulawayo Provincial Affairs Nomthandazo Eunice Moyo, Bulawayo Mayor, Martin Moyo, magistrates, lawyers, among others.

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