The High Court Commercial Division has concluded and given judgement to 227 cases which have been pending in the country’s courts since 2010, a development that will likely excite the business community.
Before the establishment of the Commercial Division, the High Court used to handle commercial cases but the business community complained that the delays in dealing with the commercial cases were not in line with the pace of commercial transactions.
The outcry from the business community prompted the setting up of a Commercial Division at the High Court of Malawi.
Information sourced from the Commercial Court indicates that it had a backlog of 38 cases in 2010, 75 in 2011, 40 in 2012, 54 in 2013 and 130 in 2014 which were pending conclusion.
But Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said in an interview this week that the Commercial Division of the High Court has made strides in helping the corporate world to have disputes resolved on time.
He said: “Between 2010 and 2014, the Commercial Court registered 1 618 cases out of which 1 339 were concluded. The remaining 227 cases have been concluded this year.
“Since the establishment of the division, our major success stories have been that every year it is able to achieve the main objective for which it was established, that is, the speedy and efficient resolution of commercial disputes.”
Mvula said that “indifferent cash inflow to the Judiciary is the major challenge affecting our operations but we are trying our best to ensure that this does not hinder us from discharging our duties”.
In its Business Climate Survey 2014, Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (MCCCI) said that even though there has been some work towards improving the legal environment since the establishment of the Commercial Court, the progress is being hampered by lack of timely handling of the cases to the extent that it continues to be expensive to seek justice in court.
The Commercial Division of the High Court opened its doors for operations on May 14 2007 in Blantyre and in April 2010 in Lilongwe.
The establishment of the Commercial Division of the High Court was one of the reforms to facilitate the ease of doing business in Malawi because it was observed the delay to dispense with disputes of commercial nature was costly to businesses.