The Role of Adjudicative Tribunals in Providing Speedy Adjudication: The Case of the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) of Zambia

By Simon Ng’ona

University of Lusaka, simon.ngona@unilus.ac.zm

ABSTRACT

This study focuses on the role and performance of ADR, specifically adjudicative tribunals, in addressing the challenge of inundation and delay in dispute settlement processes in traditional courts in Zambia. The study, whilst using the CCPT as a yardstick, uses a mixed methodological approach of descriptive and inferential statistical methods to analyze the extent to which cases brought before the CCPT were speedily being settled. According to the author’s knowledge, no comprehensive work was available dedicated to understanding the performance of ADR, specifically adjudicative tribunals, using a mixed methodological approach as stated. Quantitatively, the study calculated the disposition times of published decisions of the CCPT from 2014 to 2017. 

DOWNLOAD FULL ARTICLE

The study finds that the average duration of disposal of cases was 11 months, a value significantly higher than the envisaged target of 6 months.[1] The study, however, notes that there has been constant improvement in the duration of cases settled over overtime. However, despite the enunciated ensuing positive developments, the study notes that more needs to be done if the CCPT was to operate at its optimal level. Firstly, the CCPT needs to operate on a full time basis and should be adequately funded. Conversely, the budget for the tribunal was 500% lower than that of a similar outfit in South Africa. This signified an eminent challenge affecting performance. Further, improved performance should entail having in place properly outlined and legally encoded timeframes for which cases should be heard and determined. The study also notes that appeals from the CCPT should lie straight to the Court of Appeal. This is because for one to be appointed Chairperson, they need to have 10 years or more experience at the bar which is the same qualification as that of High Court Judges. Further, the study also notes that ADR processes should be accountable to the court system. Any development which breeds unbridled preference for ADR has potential to promote unhealthy competition with the courts. And thus, the study underwrites the oversight role of the Court on tribunal decisions through appeals. In the case of CCPC v Hill Jam Investment Limited[2], the High Court found the action of the CCPT ultra vires when it attempted to hear a criminal matter whose jurisdiction was that of the superior Court of records. Therefore, without interpretation of the High Court, wrong precedence would have been advanced.  

Key words: Alternative Dispute Resolution; Adjudicative Tribunals, Performance.


[1] Note: One of the KPIs of the CCPT was to dispose of cases within 6 months.

[2] 2014 HC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.