Chief Justice Irene Mambilima says every aggrieved person must seek justice before the courts of law because it is not a preserve of a few.
And Transparency International Zambia president Rueben Lifuka says the Judiciary is just as vulnerable to corruption and bribery like any other arm of government.
Speaking when she launched the service charter for the High Court, Subordinate Court and Small Claims Court, Justice Mambilima said the Judiciary was striving to be more transparent and accountable in its operations.
“Access to justice is not a preserve of the few, all people who have grievances must access justice. It is a constitutional right for all Zambians. The Judiciary is redefining its service delivery to the public by being transparent and accountable in its operation. Information on court processes and procedures is now being put in the public domain through efforts such as this one. There has been an increase in people bringing matters to court. The small claims court for example has proved to be a huge success for recovery of small debts as people now know and trust that the court processes we have will give them redress,” said Mambilima.
Meanwhile, the Zambian chapter president, in a speech read on his behalf by TIZ board member Dr Annie Chewe, noted that the Judiciary was just as vulnerable to bribery and corruption as any other arm of government.
“From the work we have done on judicial corruption around the world, it has become evident that the judiciary is just as vulnerable to corruption and bribery as any other arm of government or sector. Discrimination and corrupt practices often prevent citizens especially the poor and marginalised from equitable opportunities and protection of their rights. Preventive measures are therefore important to ensure that the judiciary remains properly insulated against these vices,” Lifuka said.
“The development and launch of these service charters is a demonstration that the leadership in the judiciary is committed not only to improving service delivery in the institution but to promoting transparency, integrity and accountability in the system as well.”
The charters were formulated by Transparency International Zambia in conjunction with the Anti-Corruption Commission, the Judiciary among others and will be given to the public to easily understand court processes and procedures.