HIGH COURT ACT
Arrangement of Sections
1. Short title
CONSTITUTION OF THE COURT
3. Divisions of court
4. Powers and jurisdiction of Judges
5. Trial with assessors
OFFICERS OF THE COURT
7. Powers, etc., of Registrar and other officers of the court
8. Directions by the Chief Justice as to duties and functions
JURISDICTION AND LAW
10. Practice and procedure
11. Probate and divorce jurisdiction
12. Rules as to application of English statutes
13. Law and equity to be concurrently administered
14. Execution of instruments by order of the court
15. Form of writs, etc.
16. Restriction of vexatious actions
17. Appeals in civil matters
17A. Completion of proceedings
SITTINGS AND DISTRIBUTION OF BUSINESS
18. Place of sitting
20. Special provisions as to Lusaka, and all courts with Resident Judges and District Registrars
21. Adjournment of court, etc., in absence of Judge
POWERS OF TRANSFER
22. Transfer in criminal cases
23. Transfer between Judges, etc.
24. Transfer to local courts
25. Manner of transfer
26. Effect of order of transfer
27. Summoning and compelling attendance of witnesses
28. Refusal to be sworn or to give evidence
29. Evidence of bystander
30. Evidence of prisoners
31. Allowances to witnesses
32. Commissioners of the court
34. Evidence of African customary law and assessors thereof
35. Record of evidence, etc
36. Oaths, etc.
37. Recording of proceedings
39. Establishment of district registries and appointment of District Registrars
40. Seals of district registries
41. Powers of District Registrars
42. Removal of proceedings
44. Rules of court
45. High Court Rules Committee
46. Repeal and savings
47. Validation of certain rules of court
to amend the law with respect to the jurisdiction and business of the High Court, and with respect to the officers and offices of the High Court, and otherwise with respect to the administration of justice and the validation of certain acts.
[7th November, 1960]
Act 41 of 1960,
Act 43 of 1961,
Act 70 of 1963,
Act 25 of 1964,
Act 20 of 1966,
Act 30 of 1967,
Act 24 of 1968,
Act 38 of 1969,
Act 3 of 1972,
Act 13 of 1994,
Act 16 of 2002,
Act 7 of 2011,
Act 21 of 2016.
GN 303 of 1964,
GN 497 of 1964,
SI 63 of 1964.
This Act may be cited as the High Court Act.
(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—
“action” means a civil proceeding commenced by writ or in such other manner as may be prescribed by rules of court, but does not include a criminal proceeding by the People;
“cause” includes any action, suit or other original proceeding between a plaintiff and a defendant and any criminal proceeding;
“Clerk of Sessions” means an officer of the court appointed as a Clerk of Sessions under the provisions of sub-section (3) of section 19;
“committed for trial” includes every case of a person ordered to be tried on information before the court, whether imprisoned or admitted to bail;
“court” means the High Court;
“defendant” includes every person, other than a plaintiff, served with any writ of summons or process, or served with notice of, or entitled to attend, any proceedings in a civil cause, and also every person charged under any process of the court with any crime or offence;
“district registry” means a district registry established under the provisions of section 39;
“Judge” includes the Chief Justice and any Puisne Judge of the court;
“judgment” includes a decree;
“matter” includes every proceeding in the court not in a cause;
“plaintiff” includes every person asking any relief (otherwise than by way of counter-claim as a defendant) against any other person by any form of proceeding, whether writ, petition or otherwise;
“practitioner” has the meaning assigned to it in section 2 of the Legal Practitioners Act;
“principal registry” means the office of the Registrar at Lusaka;
“qualified person” has the meaning assigned to it in section 11 of the Legal Practitioners Act;
“Session” means a sitting of the court at a time and place appointed under the provisions of section 19 for the purpose of transacting any of the business set forth in the said section;
“Sessions Town” means Lusaka, Ndola, and any place appointed under the provisions of paragraph (b) of sub-section (1) of section 19;
“suit” includes action.
(2) Any reference in this Act to any officer of the court by title shall, unless the context otherwise requires, mean the person appointed to the office concerned under the provisions of this Act, and shall include any person lawfully performing the functions of such office and, to the extent that any person is empowered to exercise part only of such functions, such person.
[S 2 am by SI 63 of 1964.]
CONSTITUTION OF THE COURT
(1) The court consists of the following divisions—
(a) the Industrial Relations Court;
(b) the Commercial Court;
(c) the Family Court;
(d) the Children’s Court; and
(e) such other specialised court as the Chief Justice may prescribe by statutory instrument.
(2) The court shall be deemed to be duly constituted during, and despite, a vacancy in the office of Chief Justice or puisne judge.
(3) Subject to this Act and any other written law, the Chief Justice may, by statutory instrument, specify the categories of matters over which a division of the court has jurisdiction.
(4) The Chief Justice may give practice directions to a division of the court.
[S 3 subs by s 2 of Act 21 of 2016.]
Subject to any express statutory provision to the contrary, all the Judges shall have and may exercise, in all respects, equal power, authority and jurisdiction, and, subject as aforesaid, any Judge may exercise all or any part of the jurisdiction by this Act or otherwise vested in the court, and, for such purpose, shall be and form a court.
(1) The trial of any civil cause or matter may, if the presiding Judge so decides, be held with the aid of assessors, the number of whom shall be two or more as to such Judge seems fit.
(2) Where a trial is held with the aid of assessors under this section, all the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code relating to assessors shall, so far as the same are applicable and subject to any rules of court, apply to such trial.
OFFICERS OF THE COURT
(1) There shall be a Registrar of the High Court and one or more Deputy Registrars, who shall be appointed by the Judicial Service Commission.
(2) The Judicial Service Commission shall appoint such other officers of the court as may be necessary.
[S 6(2) subs by s 3(a) of Act 21 of 2016.]
[S 6 am by GN 303 of 1964; s 6(3) rep by s 3(b) of Act 21 of 2016.]
(1) The Registrar and Deputy Registrars shall, subject to any rules of court, have the same jurisdiction, powers and duties as a Master of the Supreme Court of Judicature, and a Registrar of the High Court, in England, and, in addition, shall have such further jurisdiction, powers and duties as the Chief Justice may by rule prescribe.
(2) Officers of the court other than the Registrar, Deputy Registrars and District Registrars shall have such jurisdiction and powers as the Chief Justice may by rule prescribe.
(3) Rules made under the provisions of this section may make provision for and concerning appeals from decisions of the Registrar, Deputy Registrars and other officers of the court.
(4) Subject to the general or special directions of the Chief Justice or to the directions of the court in any particular cause or matter, the manner in which the Deputy Registrars and other officers of the court carry out the duties imposed upon them by this or any other written law or otherwise shall be under the control and superintendence of the Registrar.
The Chief Justice may give such directions as he thinks fit as to the duties to be carried out by, and for the apportionment of functions among, the officers of the court, and, without prejudice to the generality of the power hereby conferred, such directions may specify, either by name or office, the officers of the court who shall be responsible for the issue of summonses, warrants and writs of execution, for the registration of orders and judgments, for the taxing of bills of costs, for the keeping of the records of the proceedings of the court, and for the custody of and other matters relating to fines, fees and other money paid into or out of the court.
JURISDICTION AND LAW
(1) The court shall be a Superior court of Record, and, in addition to any other jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution and by this or any other written law, shall, within the limits and subject as in this Act mentioned, possess and exercise all the jurisdiction, powers and authorities vested in the High Court of Justice in England.
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