The Legal and Justice Sector Reforms Commission has yesterday starting holding public setting in Lusaka with a mandate of undertaking a comprehensive public inquiry into the state of the Legal and Justice Sector in Zambia.
The Commission, which was constituted pursuant to the Inquiries Act, Chapter 41 of the Laws of Zambia, is made up of representatives from civil society organisations that include the Human Rights Commission, Women for Change, Transparency International Zambia, Law Association of Zambia, Zambia Law Development Agency, House of Chiefs, higher institutes of learning, trade unions and Government agencies.
Commission Chairperson, Frederick Chomba, officially opened the public sittings in the council chamber by spelling out eleven terms of references and calling on the public to feel free to make submissions in order to make the judiciary better for the country.
Justice Chomba explained that the mandate of the Commission was to undertake a comprehensive public inquiry into the state of the Legal and Justice Sector in Zambia and recommend appropriate reforms that will ensure a more efficient, affordable, accessible, accountable, fair and responsive legal and justice sector.
The Chairperson called on the public to take the opportunity which has presented itself to present their case as the Commission is ready to hear out everyone in their respective languages including sign language.
According to the terms of reference of the Commission that are contained in Statutory Instrument No. 22 of 2014, the Commission will specifically inquire into the accessibility and affordability of justice by the citizens and also inquire into the practice of delivery by unanimous judgments by the Supreme Court of Zambia among many other things.
In executing its mandate, the Commission will collect views from the general public.
Stakeholders are expected to submit practical and achievable recommendations that can lead to the transformation and modernisation of the legal and justice sector in Zambia.
By mid-day, about ten petitioners appeared before the Commission and presented their petitions on various issues that ranged from the conduct of the police service, the judges, training of lawyers and on controversial matters such as the homosexuality and lesbianism.
From the July 22 to August 1, 2014, the Commission will hold public sittings in townships of Lusaka District that include the civic Centre Chawama, Mtendere, Garden, Chilenje, Kabwata, and Matero in
From August 6 to 14, 2014, the Commission will be holding public sittings in Luangwa, Chongwe, Chirundu and Kafue districts in their respective Council Chambers.
The Commission is expected to hold similar sittings in four districts per province after completing its works in Lusaka province.