How Courts Operate

Our courts system is derived from section 79 of the Constitution which vests the judicial authority of Zimbabwe in the Supreme Court; the High Court; and such other courts subordinate to the two mentioned superior courts as may be established by or under an Act of Parliament.

There are two groups of courts in Zimbabwe; the ordinary courts and the special courts.


The ordinary courts are possessed of both criminal and civil jurisdiction. In the exercise of their civil jurisdiction the ordinary courts are empowered to apply both customary law and general law when determining cases. The ordinary courts comprise the Supreme Court, the High Court and the Magistrates Court. Special courts usually signify those courts that have limited and frequently exclusive jurisdiction in one or more specific area of the law as defined by or under an Act of Parliament. In comparison to ordinary courts these are tribunals of narrowly focused jurisdiction to which cases that fall within that jurisdiction are routed.

Special Courts
Our Special Courts derive their existence from section 92(4) of the Constitution. These courts only exercise civil jurisdiction and can only deal with those specific areas of the law, which they have been authorised to deal with by or under an Act of Parliament. Examples are the Labour Court; the Administrative Court; the Special Court for Income Tax Appeals; and the Fiscal Appeal Court.

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