An analysis of whether or not statutory instrument NO.61 of 2010 has improved access to Justice and delivery of legal service
Chinji, Willima Isabel
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The Zambian Judiciary is composed of the higher bench, the lower bench and Administrative staff. All the three categories of staff in the judiciary are involved in the administrative justices. To a larger extent, for any institution to operate effectively and efficiently, salaries and conditions of service for staff among other things should be well taken care of In Zambia the conditions of service for Judges are provided for distinctly under an Act of Parliament viz, the Judges conditions of Service Act Cap 277. Their salaries and conditions of service are promulgated through statutory instruments and are increased almost every year, the latest being S.I No 61 Of 2010. On the other hand conditions of service for Magistrates follow those of the civil service which are generally dependent upon negotiated collective agreements between the public service unions and Government. They are made to work under the negotiated conditions of service and yet they do not belong to any union.An analysis was done therefore to find out whether increasing Salaries and Conditions of Service for Judges only does improve Access to Justice and Delivery of legal Service. To find out the situation on the ground as regards to this problem, interviews where conducted with key personnel from various institutions. It was also important to analyse pertinent documents as regards to salaries and conditions of service for Judges and other judicial officers. It is not in dispute that a lot of effort is put in by the Government to improve Salaries and Conditions of Service for the higher bench only and this is evidenced by the promulgation of various statutory instruments. There is a glaring disparity in the conditions of service between the higher and the lower bench and this state of affairs does negatively affect the operations of the Judiciary and leads to a demotivated workforce. Given the forgoing, it is strongly advisable that the executive through the treasury give the Judiciary adequate financial resources for it to operate properly and effectively as an autonomous institution. The executive should also give the judiciary financial autonomy and be allowed to manage its payroll. Salaries and other conditions of service for the lower bench and other judicial officers should be improved every time the conditions of service for the higher bench are improved. This in turn will enable the judiciary to operate effectively and efficiently to the advantage of the Zambian people whom it serves.
- Law