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Chapter 7:10

Magistrates Court Act

(Will be amended by the Judicial Service Act[Chapter7:18](No.10of2006)when it comes into operation)

Order in Council, 1898 (ss. 69, 70, 71(1) and (3) and 73); Ord. 5/1899; Acts 18/1931, 3/1935, 19/1936 (ss. 8, 9 and 10), 37/1938 (ss. 33 and 40), 3/1949, 29/1951 (s. 2), 18/1952, 57/1954, 25/1956 (s. 4), 8/1957 (Federal) (s.

14), 4/1958, 29/1960, 53/1960 (ss. 53 and 54), 14/1962 (s. 2), 19/1963, 12/1964 (s. 54), 71/1064, 18/1965,

45/1965, 25/1966, 5/1967 (s. 93), 11/1968, 12/1969, 24/1969 (s .33), 39/1971, 51/1971 (s. 32), 61/1971 (s. 11),

33/1973, 3/1974, 27/1975, 26/1976, 37/1977(s. 3), 41/1978 (s .3), 17/1979 (s .5), 31/1979 (ss. 2 and 3), 6/1981

(s. 30), 15/1981 (s. 16), 26/1981, 29/1981 (s. 59), 15/1982 (ss. 3 and 4), 33/1983, 3/1984 (s. 2), 28/1984 (s. 3),

12/1986 (s. 2), 13/1989, 2/1990, 11/1991 (s. 6), 1/1992, 2/1992, 15/1992, 22/1992 (s. 2), 15/1994;9/1997,

8/2001 (s. 25), 22.2001 (s. 4), 14/2002 (s. 8), 9/2003, 23/2004 (s. 282), 9/2006 (s. 29); R.G.Ns. 217/1970 (as read with Act 29/1970 (s. 16)), 698/1970, 707/1970, 354/1972, 155/1993, 173/1993, 86/1995, 227/2006.




  1. Short title.
  2. Regional divisions and provinces.
  3. Regional and provincial courts.
  4. Nature of courts and proceedings.
  5. Magistrate to preside over court.
  6. Appointment of magistrates.
  7. Powers and jurisdiction of magistrates.




  1. Messengers of court.
  2. Jurisdiction in civil cases.
  3. Arrests and interdicts.
  4. Attachment to found or confirm jurisdiction.
  5. When court has no jurisdiction.
  6. Counterclaim exceeding jurisdiction.
  7. Change of place of hearing.
  8. Costs caused by default of witness.
  9. Writs of execution.
  10. Report by officer charged with execution of writ.
  11. Messenger’s powers.
  12. Force of process.
  13. Return of messenger, deputy messenger, etc.
  14. What property may not be attached.
  15. Summons for civil imprisonment.
  16. Decree of civil imprisonment.
  17. Costs in proceedings in civil imprisonment.
  18. Superannuation of decrees of civil imprisonment.
  19. Warrant of imprisonment.
  20. Period of imprisonment and effect of liberation.
  21. Imprisonment and maintenance during imprisonment.
  22. Garnishee orders.
  23. Order for attachment of property in security of rent.
  24. Proceedings for recovery of possession of house upon return of nulla bona in action for rent.
  25. Decree for delivery of possession and its effects.
  26. Court in certain cases may, in action for rent, decree delivery of possession.
  27. When summons operates as interdict.
  28. Rescission and alteration of judgment.
  29. Abandonment of whole or part of judgment appealed against.
  30. Curator ad litem, appointment of.



  1. Examination by interrogatories.
  2. Manner of summoning and penalty for non-attendance.
  3. Reciprocal provision for cases pending in Zimbabwe.
  4. When this Part takes effect.



  1. Jurisdiction in criminal cases.
  2. Ordinary jurisdiction as to punishment.
  3. Special jurisdiction as to punishment.
  4. Magistrate may be assisted by assessors.
  5. Incapacity of assessor.
  6. Stopping and conversion of trials.
  7. Imposition or bringing into operation of sentences suspended by High Court.
  8. Local limits of jurisdiction.
  9. Scrutiny of certain cases not falling within section 57(1).
  10. Accused’s right to submit statement on review.
  11. Appeal from magistrates courts in criminal cases.
  12. Attorney-General may appeal to High Court on point of law or against acquittal.
  13. Attorney-General may appeal to High Court against sentence.
  14. Execution of sentence of imprisonment or fine or community service not suspended pending review or appeal unless bail granted.
  15. Execution of corporal punishment suspended pending appeal.



  1. Legal representation.
  2. Amendment of plaint or summons. Costs.
  3. Examination of witnesses by interrogatories.
  4. Commission de bene esse.
  5. Administration of oath.
  6. Interpleader proceedings where third parties claim goods taken in execution.
  7. Contempt of court.
  8. Obstruction of messenger and other offences.
  9. Rules of court.
  10. Transitional provision: assistant magistrates.

AN ACT to consolidate and amend the law relating to courts of magistrates, and to provide for the examination, by interrogatories, of persons resident in Zimbabwe, whose evidence is required in civil cases pending in any magistrates court in any neighbouring state.

[Date of commencement: 1st January, 1932.]



1    Short title

This Act may be cited as the Magistrates Court Act [Chapter 7:10].

                       2    Interpretation

In this Act—

“clerk of the court” includes any official carrying out the duties of such clerk on the instruction of the magis-


“court” means a court of a magistrate;

“judgment”, in relation to civil cases, includes a sentence, decree, order or rule;

“magistrate” means any person who has been appointed to hold magisterial office in terms of this Act;

“messenger” includes a deputy messenger;

“Minister” means the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs or any other Minister to whom the President may, from time to time, assign the administration of this Act;

“periodical court” means a court of a magistrate sitting at some place, other than the ordinary stated place of holding of the court, appointed for the periodical holding of such court;

“province” means a province created in terms of section three;

“regional division” means a regional division created in terms of section four;

“registrar” means registrar of the High Court;

“rules” means rules made in terms of section seventy-three.

                       3     Regional divisions and provinces

The President may, by statutory instrument—

  • create regional divisions consisting of one or more provinces or of one or more provinces and a portion or portions of a province or provinces or of one or more portions of a province or provinces and declare the name by which any regional division shall be known;
  • create provinces and define the boundaries of each of them and declare the name by which any province shall be known;
  • abolish or alter the boundaries of any regional division or province.

                       4    Regional and provincial courts

(1) The Minister may, by statutory instrument— (a) establish one or more courts for any regional division;

  • appoint one or more places within each regional division for the holding of a court for that regional


  • abolish the courts established for any regional division when such regional division has been abolished.
  • There shall be one or more courts for each province as the Minister may determine.
  • The Minister may, by statutory instrument, appoint one or more places within each province for the holding of a court for that province.

                       5    Nature of courts and proceedings

  • Every court shall be a court of record.
  • Subject to this Act and except as provided in any other law—
  • the proceedings in all cases shall be in the English language and shall be carried on in open court:

Provided that, in any matter to be determined according to customary law, the proceedings may be conducted in any other language agreed upon by the parties and the presiding magistrate;

  • the records of the proceedings of the court shall be kept in the English language and shall be accessible to the public under the supervision of the clerk of the court at all convenient times and upon payment of such fees as may be prescribed in rules;
  • in all criminal cases the witnesses shall deliver their evidence viva voce.
  • If any person disturbs the peace or order of the court, the court may order that person to be removed and detained in custody until the rising of the court or if, in the opinion of the court, the peace or order of the court cannot otherwise be secured, may order the court room to be cleared and the doors thereof to be closed to the public.
  • The court may change its place of hearing of any case to any other place within its jurisdiction if, through the inability from illness or other cause of the accused in a criminal case or of a witness in any case to attend at a place where the court usually sits or for other reasonable cause, it appears desirable to do so, and may adjourn the hearing for that purpose.

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