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An Introduction to Zimbabwean Law

Lovemore Madhuku

Publication Year: 2010

This is an introductory textbook on the Zimbabwean legal system. It sets the stage for a comprehensive description of that legal system by opening with some theoretical issues on the nature of law in general, particularly a definition of law, the role and purpose of law in society, the relationship between law and justice and how morality impacts on law. After outlining this theoretical framework, it turns to the Zimbabwean legal system and covers the following key areas: sources of Zimbabwean law, the scope of Roman-Dutch law in Zimbabwe, the law-making process and the role of Parliament, the structure of the courts in Zimbabwe, the procedures in the civil and criminal courts, the legal aid system and the nature of the legal profession. It covers the process of appointment of judges and its effect on the independence of the judiciary. It has a long closing chapter on the interpretation of statutes covering all the rules, maxims and presumptions.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright, About the Author

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pp. xiii-xiv

This book is a compilation of my lecture notes for ‘Introduction to Law’, a course which is one of the main foundations of the LLB degree of the Faculty of Law, University of Zimbabwe. I have taught this first-year course to students in the Faculty of Law for the last fourteen...

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pp. xv

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is a German political foundation that was established in 1925. The oldest political foundation in Germany, its backbone is the promotion of the ideas and values of social democracy across the world. It carries out its mission through its programmes...

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1. What is Law?

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pp. 1-12

Law refers to rules and regulations that govern human conduct or other societal relations and are enforceable by the state. It is the quality of enforceability by the state that distinguishes law from other rules. There are, of course, other rules that govern human conduct such as...

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2. Sources of Law

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pp. 13-35

Legislation is also referred to as statutory law and covers those rules of law made directly by the legislature. Each state has an organ responsible for law-making, and this is what is referred to as the legislature. The legislative authorities of the state promulgate law in various statutory...

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3. Divisions of the Law

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pp. 36-42

A crime is a wrong punishable by the state, and the main object of criminal law is punishment of the offender(s). A civil wrong is a wrong against another person, and the main object of civil law is to compensate the victim for the harm suffered. Although a crime is a wrong against...

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4. The Law-Making Process

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pp. 43-60

This statement emphasizes the fact that the power of governmental organs is necessarily limited and defined by the society that creates the government. There is thus no magic in the powers of state organs; their power is given and defined by the people. Every society has rules that define...

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5. The Structure of the Courts

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pp. 61-83

Courts are classified into two broad categories, namely, criminal courts and civil courts. Civil courts in turn are divided into two groups: ordinary civil courts and specialized courts. In examining each court, two questions arise, namely, what is its composition? and what is its...

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6. The Legal Profession in Zimbabwe

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pp. 84-106

Prior to the Courts and Legal Service Act 1990, solicitors had no right of audience in all superior courts and barristers thus enjoyed a virtual monopoly of advocacy in these courts. The current legal position is that both barristers and solicitors have a right of audience before every...

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7. An Outline of Court Procedures

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pp. 107-126

A distinction should be made between adversarial and inquisitorial procedure. Their difference boils down to the extent of participation of the court/judge in the proceedings. An inquisitorial procedure is one in which the judge takes an active role in ascertaining the facts from the...

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8. Legal Aid

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pp. 127-143

Legal aid refers to the system of providing legal services to persons who are unable to afford to pay fees for such services. This arises in a world in which the cost of legal services is, without exception, very high. Whether or not the state should provide legal aid is a controversial issue. It...

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9. Statutory Interpretation

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pp. 144-182

The interpretation of statutes falls largely within the realm of the common law. Rules and principles developed by the courts over a long period of time are the mainstay of the interpretation of legislation. However, the Interpretation Act (Chapter 1:01) does provide guidelines for...

Some Latin Words & Expressions

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pp. 183-188

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781779221414
Print-ISBN-13: 9781779220981

Page Count: 206
Publication Year: 2010