Supreme Court

State must take tougher steps to ensure people's fundamental rights are not violated - Kenya’s apex court

The supreme court of Kenya has delivered a significant judgment on the right to shelter. It involved people who had been living in two informal settlements since the 1960s, when it was effectively public land. In 2013, they were forcibly evicted by a private entity, the Moi Educational Centre, with the help of the state via the police and others. The high court found in favour of the people who were evicted, saying there was an ‘unapologetic admission’ by the Moi Centre that it had evicted the people and had their homes demolished, all without a court order.

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As the supreme court explains right at the start, this case concerns the interpretation of the right to accessible and adequate housing under the constitution’s Article 43 and, where a court finds violation of rights, the constitutional remedy of compensation.

Judge sued by counsel over behaviour that supreme court rules is ‘unacceptable’

One of the legally most distressing cases ever to be argued in the courts of Zambia has reached a crucial point: the scandalous matter of a senior advocate suing a high court judge with allegations that his constitutional rights had been infringed by the judge, has now been considered by the country’s highest court. The supreme court has ordered that the matter be properly heard in the high court, but with the judge no longer named as respondent.

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The supreme court of Zambia was only too well aware of the drama of the situation at the heart of this case: a well-known and highly-respected legal practitioner sued a judge before whom he had appeared in a matter, and claimed that the judge had infringed the constitutional rights of the lawyer concerned.

No justiciable rights to shelter in Zimbabwe – supreme court

Zimbabwe’s supreme court has confirmed that the country has no justiciable right to shelter, saying reference to shelter in the constitution was ‘essentially hortatory in nature’, operating merely as a kind of reminder or guideline to government in formulating policy. Given that shelter and housing is a major issue in Zimbabwe, this is an important decision that, along with the particular reasoning of the court, will impact on how human rights lawyers handle cases raising such issues in future.

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A crucial judgment with wide-ranging implications for Zimbabwe has been delivered by Zimbabwe’s supreme court – but very few are aware of it and there’s been no comment from the legal, academic or human rights communities even though the decision was handed down in June.

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