Top Namibian judge assesses paperless court Namibia Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Tileinge Damaseb pays a courtesy call on Chief Justice Luke Malaba at his office in Harare yesterday. - Picture: Joseph Manditswara

Fidelis Munyoro Chief Court Reporter

NAMIBIA is looking at Zimbabwe’s paperless Commercial Court as it sets up its own and yesterday visiting Namibia Deputy Chief Justice Petrus Tileinge Damaseb met Chief Justice Luke Malaba at his Harare offices to discuss working relations.

The paperless Commercial Court was established to improve the ease of doing business as part of the Second Republic’s efforts to attract local and foreign direct investment through fast resolution of commercial disputes while the case management system sees the Constitutional and Supreme Courts and the Commercial Division of the High Court go paperless with all judicial documents served electronically.

Speaking after meeting Chief Justice Malaba, Deputy Chief Justice Damaseb said the Namibian judiciary wanted to learn about the paperless Commercial Court as they seek to establish a similar court in Namibia.

“We came here to benchmark with our Zimbabwean colleagues in terms of renovations and reforms that have been introduced here in commercial dispute resolutions,” he said.

“So we are specifically focusing on the operations of the Commercial Court of Zimbabwe because we are also looking at introducing a similar court in Namibia. We are here to learn from our colleagues what they are doing in that respect, that is why we are here.

“At the end of the visit, our expectations are to see if there are things we can do differently back home after learning from the good practices the Zimbabwe judiciary has introduced, which we can use as the basis of introducing reforms in our own country.”

The Zimbabwean and Namibian judiciary have long-standing relations which has over the past years seen some Zimbabwean judges working in Namibia since that country got its independence.

Judicial Service Commission secretary Mr Walter Chikwana lauded the Namibian judiciary for coming to Zimbabwe to benchmark the success made so far in the establishment of the paperless court.

Mr Chikwana said the judiciary has been going through a major transformation in terms of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the courts and one of the key issues that have been done was the introduction of the integrated electronic case management system and the establishment of the first paperless court in the country – the Commercial Court.

“This court (Commercial Court) is primarily to deal with commercial disputes and ensure that such disputes are dealt with expeditiously and without delays,” he said.

“Our Namibian counterparts have come to benchmark with the successes that we have had. Some of the landmark achievements that we have done have caused our colleagues within the region to visit our country and this is not starting with Namibia as other countries in the Sadc region have come to learn from us.

“These are some of the beautiful things that are happening within the judiciary, which we should celebrate as a nation.”

The Commercial Court came into operation in May this year. It is a significant development for the country in terms of improving the ease of doing business environment in Zimbabwe.

The division has been moved into the completely remodelled Bristol House in Harare. The state-of-the-art facility housing the court is a reflection of the JSC’s appreciation of the economic trajectory of the Second Republic towards a prosperous and empowered upper-middle-income economy by 2030.

It is now one of the leading forums for commercial dispute resolution and so help to enhance the climate for ease of doing business in Zimbabwe.

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