info@jsc.org.zw (+263) (242) 704118 | 706260

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is a superior court of record established in terms of section 168 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013. It consists of;
(a) the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice and
(b) no fewer than two other judges of the Supreme Court and
(c) any additional judges appointed in terms of the Constitution.
Where the services of any additional judge(s) are required for a limited period, the Chief Justice may appoint a judge of the High court or a former judge to act as a judge of the Supreme Court for that period. The court has a permanent seat at Harare and sits on circuit for a week at the end of each legal term in Bulawayo in terms of a General Notice issued by the Chief Justice in the Government Gazette. Currently the Supreme Court has a compliment of 10 Judges which include the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice and two acting Judges of Appeal.

Jurisdiction
The Supreme Court is a court of appeal. This means that it cannot be approached as a court of first instance.
It is the final court of appeal for Zimbabwe in all matters except in matters where the Constitutional Court has jurisdiction. The Supreme Court Act [Chapter 7:13] (The Act) and the Supreme Court Rules, 2018 (the rules) regulate the exercise of jurisdiction by the Supreme Court. The rules were promulgated on 1 June 2018.

Frequently asked questions
1. What is the relationship between the Supreme Court and others courts?
2. How long does it take for a matter to be finalised?
3. Can you appeal if you are not satisfied with the decision of the Supreme Court?

Note: The Supreme Court has a Registry office situated at the Bulawayo High Court

High Court

Its operations are in the main governed by the Constitution and the High Court Act [Chapter 7:06].

COMPOSITION JURISDICTION
It consists of the Chief Justice, the Judge President and such other Judges of the High Court as may be appointed from time to time.
The Judge President is the overall administrative head of the High Court. The High Court has permanent seats at Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mutare.
It however, also sits three times in a year as a circuit court at Gweru and Hwange.
The High Court is a court of first instance, possessed of inherent and unlimited criminal and civil jurisdiction, over all persons and over all matters in Zimbabwe.
In criminal trials, the High Court is duly constituted if it consists of one Judge and two assessors. Assessors assist in deciding issues of fact only and have an equal say as the judge in that regard.
When the High Court is hearing appeals, at least 2 Judges are required.
Where an even number of judges sit on appeal and the opinion is equally divided, the decision is suspended until the opinion of a third Judge is obtained and the decision of the majority
becomes the decision of the court. Assessors are not required during appeal hearings.
In civil cases, the judge sits alone. A Judge, however, has discretion to appoint an assessor or assessors to assist him in a civil case.
In this regard the assessors act only in an advisory capacity and are not entitled to vote in the decision of the court.
Criminal Jurisdiction
In criminal matters the High Court has jurisdiction over all persons and over all criminal offences recognised by law. Its unlimited criminal jurisdiction empowers it to pass any punishment permitted by law, including the death penalty.
Its powers of punishment are unrestricted in regard the quantum of the monetary penalty or the length of imprisonment that may be imposed except where a statute has imposed limitations. The High Court also exercises both review and appellate jurisdiction over all criminal matters determined by the Magistrates Court.
Assessors
These may be appointed from persons who either have experience in the administration of justice or experience or special skill in any matter, which may have to be considered, by the Court.
An assessor may also be appointed on the basis that s/he has any other experience which in the opinion of the Chief Justice or the Judge President
renders him/her suitable to act as an assessor.Either party to the trial is entitled to challenge the appointment of a particular assessor.
Civil Jurisdiction
The High court has full original jurisdiction over all persons and over all matters within Zimbabwe. Its original jurisdiction is unlimited, it may deal with any nature of claim and there are no monetary limits to claims that may be instituted.
It is the only court, which enjoys inherent jurisdiction meaning that unless prohibited by some law from exercising jurisdiction, it is deemed to have jurisdiction. The High Court also exercises appellate jurisdiction in civil cases that are determined by tribunals that are subordinate to it.
Save for civil appeals emanating from the Magistrates Court, appeals emanating from other tribunals only lie with High Court where a statute specifically provides for a right of appeal to it. All civil appeals emanating from the Magistrates Court lie with the High Court. It also has inherent review powers over proceedings of all tribunals subordinate to it.
Specialised Divisions
By operation of the law, the Chief Justice, after consultation with the Judge President, may create specialised divisions of the High Court to specialise in the adjudication of cases in particular fields in the interests of expediting justice delivery, promoting ease of access to justice or for any other reason.
Currently, the High Court operates the Civil Division, the Criminal Division, the Family Division, the Fiscal Appeals Court, the Special Court for Income Tax Appeals, the Electoral Court Division and the Intellectual Property Tribunal.
HIGH COURT HARARE
Mapondera Building
Corner 3rd Street and Samora Machel Avenue
Harare
Zimbabwe
Box 870 Causeway, Harare, Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 242 250 805/8 +263 242 250 765/84/85
HIGH COURT BULAWAYO
Cnr 8th Avenue and Herbert Chitepo Street
Bulawayo
Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 292 888 096 / +263 292 61605
HIGH COURT MASVINGO
Cnr Robert Mugabe Street and Leopold Takawira Street
Box 326 Masvingo
Masvingo
Zimbabwe
Tel:+263 39 2262081 or +263 39 2262358
HIGH COURT MUTARE
10 Robert Mugabe Road
Mutare
Zimbabwe
Box 93 Mutare
Tel: + 263 20 2061476 or +263 20 2061467

Constitutional Court

Constitutional Court
The Constitutional Court is a superior court of record established in terms of section 166 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013. It consists of;
(a) the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice; and
(b) five other judges of the Constitutional Court;

Jurisdiction
The Constitutional Court is the highest court in all constitutional matters and its decisions on constitutional matters bind all other courts. The Constitutional court decides only constitutional matters and issues connected with decisions on constitutional matters, this include dealing with Bills referred from Parliament or Senate for advice on their constitutionality.
Subject to the Constitution, only the Constitutional Court may-
(a) advise on the constitutionality of any proposed legislation, but may do so only where the legislation concerned has been referred to it in terms of the Constitution;
(b) hear and determine disputes relating to election to the office of President;
(c) hear and determine disputes relating to whether or not a person is qualified to hold the office of Vice-President; or
(d) determine whether Parliament or the President has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation
In terms of section 175(1), any order of constitutional invalidity made by a court must be referred to the Constitutional Court for confirmation.
In addition, only the Constitutional Court can make an order that an Act of Parliament or the conduct of the President or Parliament is unconstitutional. The Constitution under section 167(4) requires an Act of Parliament to regulate the exercise of jurisdiction by the court. To that end the Constitutional Court Rules were promulgated on 10 June 2016 under Statutory Instrument 61 of 2016.

Frequently asked questions
1.What kind of matters are dealt with by the Constitutional Court?
2.What exactly is the Constitutional Court?

Magistrates Court

MAGISTRATE COURT
Although the Magistrates' Court is established in terms of section 163 (1) (f) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the jurisdiction of the various levels of magistrates in both criminal and civil cases remains prescribed by the Magistrates' Court Act [Chapter 7:10].
The appointment of magistrates is also governed by section 7 of the Magistrates' Court Act as read with section 5(1) (c) of the Judicial Service Act [Chapter 7:18]

JURSIDICTION OF MAGISTRATE COURTS

Civil Jurisdiction
All grades of magistrates have the same jurisdiction in civil cases. The jurisdiction is determinable in terms of categories specified in section 11 of the Magistrates' Court Act. The main determinants are causes of action and territorial demarcations. The monetary jurisdiction of the court is prescribed under the Magistrates' Court (Civil Jurisdiction) (Monetary Limits) Rules, 2019 SI 126/2019.
Criminal Jurisdiction
In terms of Section 49 of the Magistrates' Court Act [Chapter 7:10] the court is empowered to deal with all criminal offences except those specified in that section; which are treason, murder or any offence where an enactment requires that a person convicted of the offence shall be sentenced to death.
The ordinary sentencing jurisdiction of the different magisterial grades as provided for in Section 50 of the Act is briefly described below. Some enactments however provide for increased sentencing jurisdiction of the different categories of magistrates.

Magistrate:
Imprisonment for a period not exceeding 2 years or a fine not exceeding level 7. On remittal by the Prosecutor-General: - imprisonment for a period not exceeding 4 years or a fine not exceeding level 9.

Senior Magistrate:
Imprisonment not exceeding 4 years or a fine not exceeding level 9.
Provincial Magistrate:
Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years or a fine not exceeding level 10.
Regional Magistrate:
Imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or a fine not exceeding level 12.
Chief magistrate and Deputy Chief magistrate:
Both of them possess the jurisdiction of a regional magistrate when sitting in any regional division and that of a provincial magistrate in any province.


THE ADMINISTRATIVE STRUCTURE OF THE MAGISTRACY
The magistracy is headed by a chief magistrate who is supported by a deputy chief magistrate and a principal administrator.
Below that level are three senior regional magistrates each in charge of one of the three of the Eastern, Central and Western regional divisions in the country. There are also ten provincial magistrates each in charge of one of the ten magisterial provinces in the country.
The provinces are Harare Metropolitan, Bulawayo Metropolitan, Matebeland North, Matebeleland South, Midlands, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland Central, Manicaland and Masvingo.
The magisterial provinces comprise of the 10 provincial stations and 46 resident courts to make a total of 56 stations. The resident courts are each headed by a resident magistrate. In addition, there are 48 periodic courts situated at various centres across the country. The magistracy as the lower judiciary, is supported by expert staffers in human resources, administration and finance which mirror the set up at the JSC secretariat.
The Magisterial Provinces are composed of Provincial centres as well as Resident and District Courts totalling fifty-four (54). There are forty-eight (48) circuit courts in Zimbabwe. Harare, Matabeleland South, Matabeleland North, Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central Provinces make up the Magisterial Provinces of Zimbabwe.

Kindly click here to view all the contact details of all Magistrates Courts found in Zimbabwe .

Labour Court

The Labour Court is created in terms of Section 172 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and Section 84 of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01].
It is a creature of statute and its area of jurisdiction is only as provided for within the four corners of the Labour Act.
The Labour Court has jurisdiction over matters of labour and employment as may be conferred upon it by an Act of Parliament.


Operating Times

The Labour Court opens to the public from 8am to 1pm, then from 2pm to 4pm. It opens Monday to Friday except on public holidays
Saturdays and Sundays it will be closed.
The Labour Court publishes a calendar of the sittings and vacations of the Court every year which it publishes in the Gazette.


Persons who may appear before the court

Parties may appear in person or as represented by legal practitionerís trade unionists or company representatives.

COMPOSITION JURISDICTION
It consists of a Senior Judge and other Judges of the Labour Court. The Labour Court now falls under the authority of the Judicial Service Commission headed by the Chief Justice.
The Senior Judge is possessed of the overall administrative responsibility of the operations of this court.
The Labour Court is currently located in three centres, namely Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru. It has circuit courts in Mutare, Hwange and Masvingo once every term.
Assessors do not have a voice in any question of law.
The jurisdiction of the Labour Court is specified in section 89 of the Act. Generally, it is an appeal court for a variety of labour disputes, although in a few cases it is a court of first instance.
An example of the latter is where a dispute may arise in relation to the extent or description of any undertaking or industry represented by a trade union. Such a dispute may be referred directly to the Labour Court for determination.
An appeal from any decision of the Labour Court lies to the Supreme Court, but this is only in relation to a question of law.
HARARE
Bristol House
97 Kwame Nkrumah Ave
Harare
Tel: +263 4 798 634/5
BULAWAYO
Tredgold Building
Cnr 4th Street and Leopold Takawira Street
Bulawayo
Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 292 73600
GWERU
Old Prison Complex
Main Street
Gweru
Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 54 231644

Administrative Court

The Administrative Court was established in 1979 in terms of the Administrative Court Act [Chapter 7:01]. It is a specialist court that deals only with those issues assigned to it by its establishing Act or by various other pieces of legislation. In short it is a creature of statute and does not possess inherent or common law jurisdiction. Furthermore this court is not endowed with the power to enforce its own judgements and has to rely on other courts for enforcement.

Composition

It consists of a Senior President and such other Presidents of the Administrative Court as from time to time may be appointed. The coming into effect of the Judicial Service Act has also brought this court under the ambit of the Judicial Service Commission. The Senior President assumes the overall administrative stewardship of this court. The Administrative Court is currently located at Harare only. In the determination of matters, a President can either sit alone or may sit with assessors. Assessors are appointed on the basis of their wide experience or expertise in the field for which they are appointed. The assessors only involve themselves on questions of fact.

Jurisdiction

The Administrative Court deals with civil cases of an administrative nature. It has both first instance and appellate jurisdiction, depending on the legislation assigning it the jurisdiction. Appeals to the court are dealt with in terms of the Administrative Court [Miscellaneous Appeals] Rules, 1980, SI 122/1980. Some examples of matters falling within the purview of the courtís appellate powers include, administrative decisions made by local authorities; administrative decisions arrived at by statutory regulatory bodies, such as, the State Procurement Board, the Rent Board, the Liquor Licensing Board and the Medicines Control Authority. Appeals against decisions of this court lie directly to the Supreme Court.

CONTACT DETAILS

Mapondera Building
Corner 3rd Street and Samora Machel Avenue
Harare
Zimbabwe
Box: 870 Causeway
Harare
Zimbabwe
Tel: +263 4 250 805/ +263 4 250 765

Master of the High Court

The Masterís Office is a creature of statute, which is established in terms of section 3 of the Administration of Estates Act [Chapter 6:01]. Its mandate is to protect the financial interests of persons whose estate are, for various reasons, being managed by others, for example deceased persons, minor children, insolvent persons etc.
The office is headed by one Master, who is based in Harare at the Masterís House. The Master is assisted in discharging his mandate by one Deputy Master, who is also based in Harare, and three Additional Masters, ie Additional Master-Deceased Estates, Additional Master-Insolvency & Minors and Additional Master-Bulawayo. Below the Additional Masters are Principal Assistant Masters, Senior Assistant Masters, Assistant Masters and other supporting staff. Magistrates who will be dealing with deceased estates are recognised as Additional Assistant Masters.
Previously, the Masterís Office only had two administrative regions, ie Harare and Bulawayo, but it has decentralized its operations to three more regions and sub-offices, ie in Masvingo, Mutare and Chitungwiza.
The Masterís jurisdiction in the regional offices is the same as that of the High Courts in those regions except for Chitungwiza where the jurisdiction is similar to that of the Chitungwiza Magistrates Court.
The Masterís vision is to establish as many regional and sub-offices as possible countrywide to enable access to justice.
For the regional and sub-offices, the following are the persons in charge;
Bulawayo Ė Mr R. Antonio
Masvingo Ė Ms H. Pasvani
Mutare Ė Ms D. Ngazimbi
Chitungwiza Ė Mrs S. Kashaya
The Masterís office has three main divisions:-
1.The Deceased Estates Division
2.The Insolvency Division
3.The Minors Division, which includes the Guardianís Fund
1.THE DECEASED ESTATES DIVISION

This is the arm of the Masterís Office which administers estates of persons who would have died. Its purpose is to ensure that deceased estates are wound up in compliance with the provisions of the law, and that the process is done in an orderly manner.
The Deceased Estates division can be accessed in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Chitungwiza. Also important to note is the fact that in the above mentioned locations, all deceased estates that were previously being administered at Provincial Magistrates Courts are now being handled at the respective Masterís Office.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ADMINISTRATION OF DECEASED ESTATES

a.Who can register a deceased estate?
The surviving spouse and/or children of the deceased, if there is no such spouse or children then the nearest relative or connection of the deceased should take the initiative to register the estate within 14 days of death, failure of which other classes of persons can also register the estate. Other classes may include tenants, creditors, debtors etc.
b.When should a deceased estate be registered ?
In terms of section 5 of the Administration of Estates Act [Chapter 6:01] an estate should be registered within 14 days of death, by way of completion of a death notice form, which is obtained at the Masterís Office or Magistrates Court that administers deceased Estates. The same provision makes it a criminal offense for one to fail to register an estate within the stipulated time.
c.Where does one go to register a deceased estate ?
Generally the Master, being the authority in charge of administration of all deceased estates, can register any type of estate. However, the place of registration depends on the following:
i.Whether or not the deceased left a will
ii.The type of law applicable to the deceased Ė customary or civil law
If the deceased left a will, the estate should be registered at the Masterís office in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare or Chitungwiza.
If the deceased died without leaving a will then one is guided as follows: i.For estates where the deceased was married in terms of the Marriage Act [Chapter 5:11] or in terms of the laws of a foreign country, or is a non-resident of Zimbabwe Ė registration should be done at the Masterís Office in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare or Chitungwiza.
ii.For estates where the deceased was married in terms of African customary law or in terms of the Customary Marriages Act [Chapter 5:07] Ė registration should still be done at the Masterís Office except in areas where there is no such office. In that case the estate is registered at the Magistrates Court in that area.
d.Requirements for registration
i.Completed Death Notice form
ii.Completed Preliminary Inventory form
The above mentioned forms, which are mandatory, are obtained at the office of registration. Copies of the death certificate and/or marriage certificate are not mandatory but are required for administration purposes only, thus a person should not be hindered from registering an estate if they do not possess same.
e.Conduct that is regarded as illegal when dealing with deceased estates
i.Failure to register a deceased estate or failure to timeously do so
ii.Concealment of estate assets.
iii.Selling of estate property by who have not been formally appointed as executors.
iv.Selling of estate property, by duly appointed executors, through private treaty without the authority of the Master.
v.Distribution of estate property without the Masterís authority to do so.
vi.Misappropriation of estate funds or properties.
2. THE INSOLVENCY DIVISION

This section administers the estates of insolvent persons, both natural and juristic. The administration is done in terms of the Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:07] and the Companies Act [Chapter 24:03]. This section has jurisdiction over companies under corporate rescue proceedings or liquidation, and estates of natural persons that are under liquidation.
The Master has the responsibility to appoint liquidators and corporate rescue practitioners in accordance with the relevant court orders and Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:07]
2.1 IMPORTANT INFORMANTION TO NOTE
a. Every court order placing a company under corporate rescue or liquidation or placing the estate of a person under liquidation, and every voluntary liquidation resolution shall be advertised in the Gazette and in a widely circulating newspaper.
b.Meetings of creditors are convened by the liquidators or corporate rescue practitioners in consultation with the Master, by notice in the Gazette and widely circulating newspapers. At the creditorsí meetings, creditors prove their claims against the debtor and consider the reports of the liquidator or corporate rescue practitioner, among other things, in terms of section 50 of the Insolvency Act [Chapter 6:07]
c.Creditors must appear personally or be represented by a duly authorized person before the Master for proof of their claims.
d.Payments of sums owed to creditors is to be done by the Liquidator in accordance with distribution accounts approved by the Master.
3.THE MINORS DIVISION (incorporating Guardianís Fund)

This is the section that administers the Guardianís Fund which is established by section 97 of the Administration of Estates Act [Chapter 6:01]. The purpose of the Fund is primarily to protect funds of minors, legally incapacitated persons, unknown or undetermined, absent and untraceable persons, which have been paid into the Guardianís Fund. The Minors Section administers the assets and funds accruing to children under the age of eighteen (18) in fulfillment of the courtís duty as upper guardian of minor children.
3.1IMPORTANT POINTS TO NOTE
a. Claims for monies in the Guardianís Fund can be made by a guardian (in the case of funds belonging to a minor), a beneficiary (in the case of funds belonging to a major, eg a child who has reached 18 claiming a final inheritance) or a curator (in the case of funds belonging to a mentally incapacitated person).
b. To raise a claim, the claimant must submit to the Master, a written claim, stating the reason for the withdrawal of funds, supported by satisfactory identification documents (eg ID, Passport or Driverís Licence) and invoices where applicable. The claimant must also provide the Master with his/her banking details.
c.Claims can be lodged at any of the Masterís offices in Harare, Bulawayo, Masvingo, Mutare and Chitungwiza, though payments are done centrally by the Chief Accountant at Harare. Generally, claims are paid (through the bank accounts) within a day of their receipt.
d . After the 30th of April each year, the Master publishes a list of all amounts standing to the credit of persons in the Guardianís Fund which were payable as at the preceding 31st March but were not claimed.
The list is published by notice in the Gazette, with an invitation to persons entitled to the unclaimed monies to submit their claims as aforesaid to the Master.

Sheriff of the High Court

The Sheriff and his Assistants are officers of the Court and serve as the functionary arm of the court. The office of the sheriff is established in terms of section 55(1)(b) of the High Court Act. The main functions of the office of the sheriff is to serve court processes such as summons, notices of set down, court applications and any other court related documents from the superior courts.
The sheriff is also responsible for the execution of court orders from superior courts and in doing so the sheriff does attachments of movable and immovable properties, evictions, deliveries, civil imprisonments, demolitions etc.
The Head of Sheriff Services who is based at High Court Harare is the Administrator of the Sheriff's Department. Below him is the Sheriff followed by the Deputy Sheriff. The office of the Sheriff is established in all the 10 provinces of the country and the provincial stations are manned by Senior Additional Sheriffs.

The fees for service charged by the office of the Sheriff are governed by statutory Instrument 198 of 2019

HOURS OF SERVICE
Monday to Friday__________6am to 10pm
Saturdays_______________10 am to 1pm
Our offices are located in all the 10 Provinces of the Country and we aim to provide professional, effective and efficient judicial service to the public.
We would like to hear from you. Please find our official contact details information below.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

1)What does the Sheriff require to attend to an execution in the recovery of money or an eviction?
A: To attend to execution the sheriff requires the following:
-A letter of Instruction detailing the action the Sheriff should take and the specific address where execution should be undertaken
-A Valid Court Order
-A writ of Execution duly signed by the Registrar of the High Court
-A bond of Indemnity. This will indemnify the sheriff from any damages or lawsuits that may arise as a result of the execution.
- Requisite fees for the process to be undertaken.
2) What is execution of a Court Order?
A: Execution is a process whereby the Sheriff enforces a Court judgment in favour of a plaintiff/applicant against a defendant/ respondent. In instances where the court judgment is sound in money the Sheriff will attach and sell property through public auction to satisfy the judgment debt.
3)Who pays for the execution costs?
A.The party who instructs the Sheriff is the one responsible for paying of execution fees which are normally recovered after sell of attached good in cases where the execution is sound in money.
4)How do identify the officers of the Sheriff?
A.Officers of the Sheriff carry with them Identification cards which they produce before proceeding with any execution.
5)What are the hours of service of process?
The Sheriff works between 6am -10pm from Monday ? Friday
On Saturdays the Sheriff works between 6am-1pm
The Sheriff does not work on Sundays and on public holidays.
6)What is the difference between the Messengers of Court and the Sheriff's office?
The Sheriff executes orders and serves process from Superior Courts whilst The Messenger of court attends to execution and processes from The Magistrates Court.
7)How does one contact the Office of the Sheriff when one has a complaint?
The Sheriff's department is head by the Head of Sheriff Services and he attends to all the complaints and he is situated at the High Court in Harare. His contact details are available on this website under officers.
8)In what instances does the sheriff use locksmiths when entering premises?
Locksmiths are engaged in instances where the judgment debtor or defendant denies the Sheriff access for him to proceed either attachment, removal or eviction. A locksmith can also be engaged where the Sheriff finds a building locked and deserted.
9)What are the duties of The Sheriff?
The Sheriff is an officer of the court who attend to service of court process such as summons, court applications, notices of set down and other court related documents from Superior Courts.
The Sheriff is also responsible for the execution of court orders from the Superior Courts.
10)Where is the Sheriff located?
The Sheriff is located in all the 10 Provinces of the country. The addresses and contact details are found on this website.
11)How does one know when his property has been attached?
Upon attachment of any property the sheriff leaves with the judgment debtor the following copies
a)Court order
b)Writ of execution
c)Notice of seizure

These documents will serve as proof that property has been placed under judicial attachment.