ARTICLE 120(4) of the Zambian Constitution states that the courts, except the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court, shall be devolved to the provinces and progressively to districts.
The purpose of the provision is to ensure that court services are gradually decentralized and brought to the users in the provinces and ultimately the districts.
It is all about facilitating physical access to courts by the people of Zambia in the provinces and districts.
This was in fulfilment of the broader concept of access to justice.
Chief Justice Mumba Malila in his inaugural address to Judiciary staff on December 22, 2021 spoke on the need to increase access to justice for all.
This was principally because access to justice was not merely a right in itself - it was the key enabler for making other fundamental rights realisable.
For the longest time in its short existence as a nation state, High Court was serviced by resident judges at Livingstone, Lusaka, Kabwe, Ndola and Kitwe.
In short, other provincial capitals such as Solwezi of North-western Province, Western Province, Eastern Province, Northern Province, Muchinga Province and indeed in Luapula Province had no resident judge or judge in-charge.
The reason for the absence of resident High Court judges in those areas is among other things lack of resources, unavailability of court infrastructure and inadequate volumes of litigation at that level to justify the cost of placing resident judges.