In Zambia, the court system follows a hierarchical structure in which the court placed at the top of the hierarchical pyramid exercises most of the responsibilities and powers whereas these powers keep decreasing as the pyramid keeps tapering down.
The Supreme Court is the final court of appeal in all kinds of matters including constitutional. This court is headed by the President of the court of appeal and its word is final on all matters. To understand the hierarchy of the court system in Zambia better, you can go through the details which are given below.
The Supreme Court of Zambia
The Supreme Court of Zambia is the apex court in the country and has the highest level of jurisdiction in the country. It consists of the Chief Justice, the deputy chief justice and other justices. It is the court of the last resort and no one can go against the decision of this court once it has been announced. All those cases that go against a person’s preference in High courts reach the Supreme Court of the country.
The High Court
The High Court of Zambia is an appellate court and is presided over by the Chief Justice. This court has unlimited jurisdiction to hear and determine all civil and criminal proceedings under any law. The only area where it doesn’t exercise complete jurisdiction is under the Industrial and Labor Relations Act. A person can appeal against the decision of the High court by approaching the Supreme Court.
First Instance Courts
The first instance courts or the subordinate courts are the lower level courts which fall under the high courts in each of the states and there are basically three classes of such courts, with progressive degrees of civil or criminal jurisdiction. A subordinate court of the first class is presided over by the President Resident Magistrate, a Senior Resident Magistrate, Resident Magistrate and Magistrate of the First class
Local Courts fall even beneath the first instance or subordinate courts and are established in each of the territories. The local courts consist of the president either sitting alone or with other members, all of whom are appointed by the Judicial Services Commission. These courts also deal with the civil cases of a customary nature.
The following are some of the other courts which fall beneath the Local Courts:
- Minor Court Justices of Peace
- Small Claims Courts
- Industrial relations courts
- Land Tribunal
- Revenue Appeals Tribunal