JSC to expedite tax-related cases

Delays in the finalisation of cases in the Fiscal Appeals and Tax Appeals courts, a division of the High Court has come under the spotlight.

The division deals with complex matters of a financial nature including tax disputes.

Officially opening the 2020 legal year on Monday, Chief Justice, Luke Malaba, said public concerns on the delays in the sub courts were genuine.

“The concerns raised by litigants and other stakeholders about the long delays experienced in finalising cases in the Fiscal Appeals Court and the Tax Appeals Court, which form a division of the High Court, are legitimate,” said Malaba.

“I again fully acknowledge them and assure the nation that they are receiving due attention.

“The cases usually argued in those courts are invariably complex. They have serious ramifications on the economic well-being of the country. The single judge who was assigned to the division was overwhelmed by the workload.”

The Chief Justice said in order to mitigate the challenges in that division, various intervention measures had since been put in place.

“These include the appointment of Honourable Justices Ziyambi, Mtshiya and Ndou to act as judges of that division,” said Malaba.

“The three are vastly experienced judges who are expected to deal with the challenges militating against expeditious completion of cases. During the public interviews which preceded the appointment of the latest group of judges of the High Court, the Commission took into account the expertise and experience in fiscal and tax law matters.”

Malaba said he was aware of the concerns raised by some stakeholders and members of the public regarding some judgments that have taken unduly long periods to be delivered.

“These concerns are merited and I give my assurance that they will be attended to without further delay,” he explained.

“Allow me to further advise that I meet with the Judge President of the High Court, the Senior Judge of the Labour Court, and the Judge of the Administrative Court, and the Chief Magistrate at least once every month. These meetings assess the operations of the courts and discuss the challenges which militate against justice delivery. It is through such engagements with the heads of the courts that challenges, including the tardiness of judicial officers in handing down judgments, are addressed.”

He added robust mechanisms to monitor the delivery of all reserved judgments that were recently put in place to curb the practice of reserving judgments beyond the time limits provided for by the law.

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