Frequently Asked Questions
There are two points of origin for the Commissions law review projects.
These are, firstly, internally generated projects, where the Commission initiates a law review process at its own instance; and secondly, externally generated projects where the Commission receives instructions to carry out a law review process from a client such as a Government ministry or department, statutory body, civil society organisation, donor agency or a member of the public.
The Commission has worked with Government Ministries and departments, statutory bodies, civil society organisations, donor agencies and members of the public, both as clients and as participants in the stakeholder consultative processes.
The Commission has also worked with relevant institutions and individuals in foreign jurisdictions to receive expert input, and when carrying out comparative studies which are aimed at the identification of international and regional best practice.
The Commission has the statutory mandate to make recommendations for the review and reform of the law (section 4 of the Zambia Law Development Commission Act Chapter 32 of the Laws of Zambia). However, Government Ministries and Departments, and members of the public do take steps to amend the law without the input of the Commission.
The law reform process that is carried out by the Commission consists of activities that include a desk review; drafting of layman’s Bill; stakeholder consultative meetings; comparative study visits; stakeholder validation meetings; a ZLDC Research and Projects Committee meeting to consider and approve the project report and layman’s Bill; and hand over of the project report and layman’s Bill to the Ministry of Justice. Where the client is an institution other than the Ministry of Justice, the report and layman’s Bill is handed over to that client, who will in turn hand over the project report and layman’s Bill to the Ministry of Justice.
It can be noted that Government Bills (Bills introduced to Parliament by a Minister of the relevant Ministry) require Cabinet approval before they can be considered by the Ministry of Justice. On the other hand, Private Member Bills (Bills that are to be introduced to Parliament by a Member of Parliament not acting on behalf of the Government) pass over the processes at the Ministry of Justice and Cabinet, and are presented directly to Parliament.
The Ministry of Justice reviews the project report and layman’s Bill (which operate as instructions) and develops a draft Bill. The draft Bill is reviewed at a Ministry of Justice Internal Legislative Drafting Committee meeting which is attended by the client, key stakeholders and representatives of the Ministry of Justice. Once the draft Bill is approved, it is considered at a Cabinet Legislative Committee meeting which is attended by the client, key stakeholders, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and members of Cabinet.
Once the draft Bill is approved by the Cabinet Legislative Committee, it is presented to Parliament for enactment by the Minister of the Ministry which will be responsible for its enactment. The Bill goes through three readings where it is debated by Members of Parliament and may be amended. Where the majority of Members of Parliament (two-thirds of the members in the case of a Constitutional amendment) vote in favor of the Bill, it proceeds to the final stage which is Presidential Assent, for it to become law. Once the Bill is assented to, the Act is printed by the Government Printers, at which point it is considered to have come into effect, unless the Act contains a provision postponing its commencement.
The Mission for the Zambia Law Development Commision is to reform and develop the law to meet the changing needs of society.
The Mission for the Zambia Law Development Commision is to have incorporated into the law, society values for a home grown legal system.
The Mission for the Zambia Law Development Commision is Peace and Good Governance under the Rule of Law
The Zambia Law Development Commission was established under the ZLDC Act Chapter 32 of the laws of Zambia in 1996 to conduct law reform.
The Zambia Law Development Commission was established under the ZLDC Act Chapter 32 of the laws of Zambia in 1996 to conduct law reform. Its functions are to:
- Revise and reform the law in Zambia;
- Codify unwritten laws in Zambia;
- Review and consider proposals for law reform referred to the Commission by the Minister of Justice or the Members of the public;
- Hold seminars and conferences on legal issues;
- Translate any piece of legislation into local languages;
- To research and make recommendations on socio-political values, removal of anomalies in the statue book, more effective methods of administration, and propose New areas of the law that should be developed.
The ZLDC does not hold exclusive authority to review and develop the law. Ministries and civil Society Organisations through their advocacy work do conduct activities for law reform and development, and have caused Bills to be presented before Parliament without the input or participation of the Commission.