CHIEF Justice Luke Malaba has said fairness is an integral part of the country’s justice system with the Constitution being a compass for judicial to be able to effectively deliver the service.
He made the remarks during a recent Judicial Service Commission (JSC) leadership conference in Victoria Falls.
“Fairness is an integral part of justice, and justice means giving each person what he or she deserves or, in more traditional terms, giving each person his or her due. Justice and fairness are closely related terms that are often today used interchangeably,” said CJ Malaba.
“The Constitution of Zimbabwe provides for how justice should be administered. The position of the Constitution as a compass for judicial leadership must be understood against the background of the people-centric nature of the same document.”
CJ Malaba said the Constitution was wrought out of a consultative process of engagement and re-engagement among the people of Zimbabwe.
“It therefore means that judicial leadership is given by the people. There are the people who identified the offices required to be able to achieve and administer justice among them,” he said.
Scales of justice
CJ Malaba said justice delivery is one of the aspects for which leadership may be required in any group to guarantee fairness.
He said justice delivery is attained through the proper administration of justice.
“The Constitution establishes public offices which are exclusive to the need to administer justice among the people of Zimbabwe. The offices are set out in the provisions outlining the structure and composition of the judiciary,” said CJ Malaba.
He said there must be fairness in the awarding of rewards and the stipulation of penalties for the protection of the entire group.
CJ Malaba said leadership has been regarded as public trust placed on certain individuals to administer common interests to them such as justice delivery.
“The essential elements of public trust suggest that the person to whom it is given bears a huge responsibility of handling the power entrusted to him with selflessness, objectivity, and impartiality. A connected aspect raises the question of where leaders within the judicial service obtain their authority from,” he said.
“This question, which must be explicitly answered, is both directly and indirectly provided for in the provisions of the Constitution and the Judicial Service Act.”
CJ Malaba said by virtue of holding offices that are held by public officers, leaders in the judicial service must understand that the public is the source of their power.
He said leadership in the judicial service is tantamount to exercising public authority.
“The authority is derived from the people in general and it must be exercised for their benefit. It must be exercised in such a manner that those who exercise it are conscious that it is granted by public law. Leaders carry the authority of a public nature,” said CJ Malaba.
He said there are roles created by the Constitution to ensure the administration of justice.