A CRITICAL REVIEW OF THE JUDGEMENT IN KUMAR V MUTALE (Appeal No 35 2011) [2013] ZMSC 8 (25 July 2013)

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Nkonde, Musenge L.
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The University of Zambia
This dissertation is aimed at critically reviewing the judgement rendered in the case of Kumar V Mutale (Appeal no 35 2011) [2013] ZMSC 8 (25 July 2013). This research is relevant in that it will demonstrate the purpose of statutes of limitations and the history of their enactment. Different material such as books, Journals, articles, reported cases and statutes will be consulted as this is a qualitative research. The internet will also be consulted. The objectives of this research are to review the Law Reform (Limitation of Actions etc) Act, Chapter 72 of the Laws of Zambia, which is the main statute that gives general provisions on limitation of time. A review of this Statute will lead to a comprehensive and objective conclusion on the best recommendations to implement. This research is significant in that it gives an insight on the Zambian Law with regards statutes of limitation, the possible injustices arising from the same and the best ways of curbing these. For instance, the United States has taken a novel route in dealing with suits arising from sexual offences in that the Law provides for a ‘delayed discovery’ where a victim of sexual abuse only has a recollection of the incident years after it happened due to repression of the memory. The law allows for such cases to be commenced in Court despite the lapse of the three -year limitation. It has also been demonstrated in this research that statutes of limitations such as the Law Reform (Limitation of Actions etc) Act, Chapter 72 of the Laws of Zambia are important and cannot be done away with. These statutes are enacted for the purpose of specifying the period within which one can commence an action in court. These are also referred to as non-claim statutes which are intended to promote diligent prosecution of known claims, thereby providing finality and predictability in legal affairs. Statutes of limitations serve several purposes. Firstly, they protect Defendants from being vexed by stale claims whose evidence may no longer be in existence. They also protect both the Plaintiff and the Defendant where the witnesses of such claimants may not have accurate recollection of the incidents leading to these claims or may be deceased. Secondly, these help in the finalisation of claims as one can confidently rely on them to treat a matter as being finally closed. Thirdly, statutes of limitations encourage a Plaintiff not to sleep on their rights but to commence proceedings as soon as possible. However, it is recommended that the Statute be considered for amendment so as to provide for civil suits that arise from sexual abuse cases. Also, it is recommended that there be a serious sensitisation movement for the public to be informed of theses statutes and hence allow everyone not to sleep on their rights when they have a cause of action.
Limitation of actions--Zambia , Civil procedure--Zambia