Subordinate Courts

The Constitution of the republic of Zambia provides for the establishment of various courts. With reference to the Subornate Courts; Chapter 28 of the Laws of Zambia provides for the creation of Subordinate Courts i all the districts in Zambia. These are the lower courts and the courts of the first instance.

he Subordinate Courts are the lower courts and the courts of first instance.

The Subordinate Courts are a creation of the Subordinate Courts Act, Cap 28 of the Laws of Zambia.

Section 3 of the Subordinate Courts Act establishes the classes of courts which are subordinate to the High court as follows:

  • A Subordinate Court of the first class to be presided over by a

- Principal Resident Magistrate who is mandated to handle a case of NOT more than K30,000.00

- Senior Resident Magistrate mandated to handle a case of NOT more than K25,000.00

- Resident Magistrate mandated to handle a case of NOT more than K20,000.00

- Magistrate of the First Class mandated to handle a case of NOT more than K10,000.00

  • A Subordinate Court of the second class to be presided over by a Magistrate of the second class mandated to handle a case of NOT more than K8,000.00
  • A Subordinate Court of the third class to be presided over by a Magistrate of the third class mandated to handle a case of NOT more than K4,000.00

Section 4 of the Subordinate Courts Act states that the appointment of Magistrates shall be made by the Judicial Service Commission acting in the name and on behalf of the president.

Section 7 of the Subordinate Court Act grants all magistrates equal power, autonomy and jurisdiction.

Subordinate Courts are Courts of record and the jurisdiction vested in these courts shall be exercised (so far as regards practice and procedure) in the manner provided by the Subordinate court Act and the Criminal Procedure Code, Cap 89 of the Laws of Zambia.

Subordinates Courts are also courts of first instance and they decide all matters as provided for by the Act except for offences of treason, murder, aggravated robbery, election petitions and all matters that involve the interpretation of the Constitution.

According to Section 7 of the Criminal Procedure Code Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia, a Subordinate Court of the first, second or third Class may try any offence under any written laws of Zambia and pass any sentence but;

  • A Surbodinate Court presided over by the Principle Resident Magistrate and Senior Resident Magistrate cannot pass a sentence of imprisonment of more than 9 years;
  • A Resident Magistrate cannot pass a sentence of imprisonment of more than 7 years;
  • A Magistrate Class 1 cannot pass a sentence of imprisonment of more than 5 years;
  • A Surbodinate Court presided over by a Magistrate of second and third Class cannot pass a sentence of imprisonment of more than 3 years.

However, under Section 8 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a Court of any class may promote reconciliation between the parties to facilitate the settlement in an amicable way in less serious offences like assaults and offences of personal or private nature.

Appeals

Appeals from Subordinate Courts against any judgement or older go to the High Court.

Contact Person

Registrar of the High Court Supreme Court Building Box 50067 Lusaka

TEL: +260 211 251 330