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

Composition
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 and at Bulawayo. It however, also sits three times in a year as a circuit court at Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare and Hwange.

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.

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.

Jurisdiction
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.

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.

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.

High Court Harare

 

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

 

 

BULAWAYO

Cnr 8th Avenue and Herbert Chitepo Street

Bulawayo

Zimbabwe

Tel: +263 292 888 096 / +263 292 61605

 

 

MASVINGO

Cnr Robert Mugabe Street and Leopold Takawira Street

Box 326 Masvingo

Masvingo

Zimbabwe

Tel:+263 39 2262081 or +263 39 2262358

 

 

MUTARE

10 Robert Mugabe Road

Mutare

Zimbabwe

Box 93 Mutare

Tel: + 263 20 2061476 or +263 20 2061467

Back to Top