The parliamentary Legal Affairs Committee has taken the Judiciary to task over the disproportionate injunction fees people are forced to pay at the High Court.
But the Judiciary has defended the fees—K100 000—as just one of the procedures meant to make people accountable.
People’s Party member of Parliament for Mzimba West Constituency Harry Mkandawire raised the issue at a meeting between the committee and the Judiciary last month when he asked Judiciary representatives to explain why only the High Court in Mzuzu charges the stated amount.
Another MP from the North, Ralph Mhone, a lawyer by profession, confirmed to have ever paid such an amount for an injunction.
Mhone said it is illegal for a court to charge such huge amount of money for an injunction
According to Courts (Schedule) (Replacement) Notice, 2011 published on 26 August 2011, an ex parte application for injunction has the maximum amount of K25 000.
The Judiciary, which was represented by Supreme Court judge Lovemore Chikopa, assured the committee the issue would be investigated.
But in an interview, Judiciary spokesperson Mlenga Mvula said the K100 000 fee is just one of the procedures meant to make people accountable.
“These charges are not meant for each and every case, they are aimed at people who are not cooperative,” said Mvula.
According to him, the fee is an upfront payment deposited for security reasons, and is refundable but he deplored the tendency by some lawyers who do not get refunds for their clients.
However, chairperson of the committee, MP for Lilongwe South-West, Peter Chakhwantha, wondered why other courts are not charging as much as the High Court in Mzuzu.
A Cape Town-based law expert Danwood Chirwa said in an interview injunctions are granted before the main issue in a case is decided or after the conclusion of the main case as a remedy.
He said the K100 000, if it is refundable, is regarded as a guarantee that the defendant will not suffer harm from the injunction.
But he was quick to say that this does not make much sense since the amount is fixed in all cases and it means it could be too high for some cases and too low for others.