Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe

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The Constitutional Court is the final court of appeals for all matters relating to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, and its decisions are binding on all other courts in Zimbabwe. It has the power to make the final decision on the constitutionality of an act of Parliament. The High Court or the Supreme Court may make an order declaring an act to be unconstitutional, but the order does not come into effect until the Constitutional Court confirms it.

The Constitutional Court is established by section 166 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, 2013.[1]The court sits in the city of Harare at Mashonganyika Building, Corner 3rd Street and Samora Machel Avenue.

The Constitutional Court is currently composed of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice, and 7 other Judges of the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court permanently sits at Harare. In the absence of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief Justice acts as such. The Chief Justice is the head of Zimbabwe’s judiciary.

Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe


Currently, there is a provision under paragraph 18 (2) of the 6th Schedule to the Constitution which states that for seven years after the publication date ( 22 May 2013), the Constitutional Court consists of:

  • the Chief Justice and
  • the Deputy Chief Justice and
  • seven other judges of the Supreme Court

During the first seven years, the judges must all sit together as a bench to hear any constitutional case.

During the first seven years, any vacancy on the Constitutional Court must be filled by another judge or an additional or acting judge, as the case may be, of the Supreme Court.

After the seven years, the composition of the Constitutional Court is provided for in section 166 of the Constitution which states the Constitutional Court will be composed of:

  • the Chief Justice and
  • the Deputy Chief Justice and
  • five other judges of the Constitutional Court;

Acting Judge(s) of the Constitutional Court

The Chief Justice may appoint a judge or a former judge to act as a judge of the Constitutional Court if the services of an acting judge of the Court are required.

Judges or former judges appointed to act as judges of the Constitutional Court may continue to sit as judges of the Constitutional Court after their appointments have expired, for the purpose of dealing with any proceedings commenced before them while they were still acting.

Cases before the Constitutional Court

The following cases must be heard by all the judges of the Constitutional court:

  • Cases concerning alleged infringements of fundamental human right or freedoms enshrined in Chapter 4 of the Constitution
  • Cases concerning the election of a President or Vice-President

All Other cases must be heard by at least three judges of the Court.


Subject to the Constitution, only the Constitutional Court may:

  • advise on the constitutionality of any proposed legislation, but may do so only where the legislation concerned has been referred to it in terms of this Constitution;
  • hear and determine disputes relating to election to the office of President;
  • hear and determine disputes relating to whether or not a person is qualified to hold the office of Vice- President; or
  • determine whether Parliament or the President has failed to fulfil a constitutional obligation.

Rules of the Constitutional Court must allow a person when it is in the interests of justice and with or without leave of the Constitutional Court—

  • to bring a constitutional matter directly to the Constitutional Court;
  • to appeal directly to the Constitutional Court from any other court;
  • to appear as a friend of the court.


  1. "Constitutional Court". Judicial Services Commision Zimbabwe. Retrieved October 24, 2017.

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