Zimbabwe has hiked fees and further introduced US dollar payments for all services obtained within the country’s courts, something that continues to put access to justice beyond the reach of the poor.
The Ministry of Justice and Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said the new fees will now be payable in US dollars or in Zimbabwean dollars at the prevailing interbank rates.
The new charges are contained in the Magistrate Court (Civil) Statutory Instrument (SI) 196 of 2022 which replaces SI 222 of 2020.
As of Monday this week, the inter-bank rate was pegged at ZW$636 for one US dollar.
According to the new fees schedule, Marriage licences are now pegged at US$25 (ZWS$15,900) up from ZW$1,000.
Summons or application commencing now cost US$5 or ZW$3,180 up from ZW$300.
The charge for a notice of appeal is now US$10 or ZW$6,360 an increase from ZW$500.
Transcription of record and request for typed judgment per page is now pegged at US$1 or ZW$636 up from ZW$100.
If one requires to appeal a judgment at the High Court, a copy of the court record of the case must be provided.
A record can be as long as 200 pages depending on the case.
For one to access a 200-paged court record, they will have to part with US$200 or ZW$127,200.
Those without financial capacity may fail to appeal judgments due to high costs.
Meanwhile, Liquor licence applications (Bulawayo and Harare districts) for temporary and late openings now cost US$350 or ZW$222,600 and US$500 or ZW$318,800 up from ZW$15,000 and ZW$20,000 respectively.
The High Court SI 194 of 2022, Constitutional Court SI 199 of 2022, and the Labour Law SI 197 of 2022 have also outlined new charges in US dollars.
The government has been accusing the private sector of pegging prices in US dollars yet it has also been slowly dollarising the economy.
Recently, the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development announced that commercial vehicles at the Beitbridge border post are to pay their fees in US dollars or South African Rands.