Chief Justice Irene Mambilima says the amended Zambian Constitution creates the necessary framework to secure or guarantee the functional and financial independence of the judiciary.
Justice Mambilima said while a legal and institutional framework to regulate the conduct and performance of judges and magistrates do exist in the country, each individual judge and magistrate must be accountable for his or her conduct and performance.
Officiating today at the 7th annual law conference being held at Avani Victorial Falls Resort Hotel in Livingstone, Justice Mambilima said the individual judge or magistrate should not report late for work or adjourn cases unnecessarily.
She said no judge or magistrate should tolerate or be receptive to improper influence, inducements, pressure, threats, or interference, whether direct or indirect because each of these vices serves to subvert or negate the independence, integrity and accountability which are so critical to the role of a judge or magistrate.
“Those of us who are privileged to manage the judiciary must be accountable for its performance as an institution. Our expectation as an institution is that, as appropriately intended by the framers of the amended constitution, the judiciary must practically enjoy the ability to exercise control over its own funds and apply these funds in accordance with its own priorities for the better administration of justice,” Justice Mambilima said.
She mentioned that a lot of planning goes into an efficient justice delivery system adding that the judiciary is best left to direct such planning and to set its priorities.
The people expect the judiciary to discharge its functions to the best possible standard adding that the judiciary also believe that nothing should be allowed to stand in the way of its desire to fulfill the expectations of the people from whom it derive its authority.
And in her welcoming remarks at the event, Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) President Linda Kasonde said lawyers in the 21st century need to be courageous, innovative, informed and prepared to make sacrifices.
Ms. Kasonde said the judiciary has a duty to serve the people of Zambia diligently by upholding the law regardless of the personalities or subject matter involved.
“We hold this conference under the theme “Power, Privilege and the Pursuit of Justice: Legal Challenges in Precarious Times”. This a very relevant theme at a time when the country is going through challenging times both economically and politically,” Ms. Kasonde said.
Ms. Kasonde expressed hope that by the end of the conference, meaningful resolutions will be arrived at in order to help in addressing some of the developmental and rule of law challenges the country face whilst at the same time enhancing legal knowledge and skills.