Zambia

Background

Zambia has moved from being a major copper producer and potentially one of Africa’s richest countries at independence in 1964 to one of the world’s poorest. A colonial legacy, mismanagement, debt and disease are said to have contributed to the country’s tribulations.

The judicial system in Zambia lacks the capacity to deal effectively with the proliferation of litigation and cases, which tend to drag on for years before they are disposed of.

This has deterred foreign investment due to fear on the part of investors that the judicial system is so badly run down that it cannot offer adequate legal protection for investments.

An inability to revise legislative provisions has led Zambia to maintain antiquated laws whose net effect has been to negate sustainable human development and good governance.

IRLI and Zambia

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IRLI Delegation and Zambian Judicial Research Advocates, 2016

In order to aid the further education of judicial assistants in Zambia, thereby encouraging the development of the Zambian judiciary, an exchange of judicial assistants was arranged. Senior Judicial Assistant, Michelle Flynn, visited Zambia in May 2009.

In 2010 Mr. Mathew Zulu, Special Assistant to the Chief Justice for Legal Affairs in Zambia Zambian travelled to Ireland. IRLI hosted this visit in conjunction with the Courts.

During this visit, a two-week programme was drawn up and organised by Michelle Flynn in which Mr. Zulu met with key people in the Irish Courts Service and members of the Irish judiciary.

The four key areas identified by Michelle Flynn as areas in which training was necessary were as follows:

  1. The running of a library and overall knowledge management
  2. Judicial Researchers’ Office
  3. Case Management & Progression
  4. Digital Audio Recording and the use of Interpreters in the Courts

After both exchanges took place, IRLI sent out a delegation to Zambia in 2016 with the overall objective of the Training Programme targeting Zambian Judicial Research Advocates to ultimately improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Zambian Judiciary by building the capacity of the Judicial Research Advocates (JRAs) of the Zambian Superior Courts in a number of key areas.

Through an extensive consultation and assessment process between IRLI, led by Michelle Flynn BL, and the Zambian Judiciary, three areas of need were identified. The specific objectives of the project therefore were to build the capacity of JRAs in the following areas:

  • Ethics and Code of Conduct;
  • Legal Research Skills; and
  • Judgment Writing Skills.

Although this was the first project in Zambia, IRLI plans to continue this type of training to improve the training of the Zambian Judiciary and JRAs with visits to Zambia in the near future.

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IRLI Zambian Judicial Training Programme in session, 2016

This project is funded by Irish Aid.