The Supreme Court is established under Article 124 of the Constitution of
Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia. Except for Constitutional matters,
which are reserved for the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court is the final
court of appeal, and has appellate jurisdiction to hear appeals from the Court of
Appeal. It also has jurisdiction that may be conferred by law. The Supreme Court of Zambia ranks equivalently with the Constitutional Court
The present Supreme Court building was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth on the 11th July, 1957. On 14th September, 1973, the Supreme Court Act Chapter 27 of the Laws of Zambia was passed to provide for the constitution, procedure and jurisdiction of the Court. The Supreme Court and High Court (Number of Judges) Act Chapter 26 of the Laws of Zambia, passed on 29th July 1988, provided for only nine judges including the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice. The first Chief Justice was Sir Leicester Beaufort who served in that capacity from 1901 to 1918. The number of Supreme Court Judges has since increased to 13 Judges including the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice.
Jurisdiction of the Court
An appeal from the Court of Appeal should be made to the Supreme Court with
leave of the Court of Appeal. This means that before appealing to the Supreme
Court, one must apply for permission from the Court of Appeal. In other words
one cannot appeal to the Supreme Court as a matter of right. The Court of
Appeal can give permission to appeal where it considers that-
(a) the appeal raises a point of law of public importance;
(b) it is desirable and in the public interest that an appeal by the person
convicted should be determined by the Supreme Court;
c) the appeal would have reasonable prospects of success; or
d) there is some other compelling reason why the appeal should be heard.
The Supreme Court of Zambia consists of the Chief Justice, the Deputy Chief
Justice and 11 Supreme Court Judges. All the Judges of the Supreme Court
have Research Advocates who assist them with research. Research
Advocates attached to Supreme Court Judges are qualified legal practitioners
with a minimum of 5 years post Bar admission experience.
The Registrar of the Supreme Court is the head of Court Operations in the
court. The Registrar is assisted by the Master of the Supreme Court, who is in
charge of the day to day operations of the Court Registry. The Master of the
Supreme Court is assisted by the Assistant Master of the Supreme Court,
Registry Clerks and Marshals.
– Supreme Court Judges