Zambian lawyers plead for greater co-operation with new chief justice

Successful reforms in the Zambian Judiciary and legal profession will only materialise if lawyers and senior judges work more closely, according to one of the country's leading practitioners.

Victoria Falls: a wave of support for judicial reform

James Banda, president of the Law Association of Zambia, welcomed the recent appointments of acting Chief Justice Lombe Chibesakunda and her deputy, Florence Mumba -- - commenting that they are long overdue  -- but insisted that judicial reforms must be pushed forward.

Meaningful reforms

According to the UKZambians web site, Mr Banda said: ‘As we welcome the appointments of justices Chibesakunda and Mumba and notwithstanding that the appointments are only in an acting capacity, it is our sincere hope that the two honourable justices will get the judiciary to work with the Law Association of Zambia and other stakeholders to achieve meaningful reforms in the Judiciary as well as the legal profession.’

Mr Banda added that the Judiciary itself should take a lead role in the process, saying: ‘The judiciary should not allow a situation where reforms are forced on it due to inertia or lack of initiative on the part of the judiciary. Introspection is very cardinal in this respect.’

Proposed inquiry

The association has proposed a commission of inquiry to facilitate submissions from members of the public and aggrieved parties over the administration of justice. One of its recent reports suggested that the process should be recorded on camera, stating: ‘The submissions shall provide the basis for understanding the true extent of the concerns, which at present are being relegated to the status of mere perceptions.’

Attorney General Mumba Malila has already suggested that judges are not above the law. At an April meeting of the lawyers’ association, he said: ‘We are now living in an age of prevalent unabated judicial controversy, where the doings of the judiciary should be publicly scrutinised and discussed almost as frequently and as with much venom as those of politicians.’


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