The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) and the Law Society of Zimbabwe have agreed to consider a review of the fees payable by members of the public to access courts and the payments for legal representation as part of efforts to enhance access to justice.

The 2018 bar-bench colloquium, an annual indaba between the bench and the legal professionals on issues relating to administration of justice saw strong calls for the country to ensure that legal cost are not a barrier for litigants to have equitable access to justice.

One of the major resolutions adopted during the colloquium was for the JSC and the Law Society of Zimbabwe to consider an urgent review of the fees payable by members of the public to access courts and the payments for legal representation.

“We agreed that we need to apply ourselves in ensuring that there is access to justice. Most importantly, there was consensus on that we should look at reducing the fees payable by members of the public to access the courts and to get legal representation,” noted JSC Secretary, Mr Walter Chikwana.

While courts have remained open in theory in most countries including Zimbabwe, in reality they are open to very few who can afford the cost of litigation.

A review of the legal cost is set to ensure that the vulnerable members of society may afford to get legal representation.

The indaba also saw participants agreeing on the urgent need for the Constructional Court Act to be legislated.

The commercial court was also under the spotlight with legal professionals and the bench agreeing on the draft rules for the specialised court.