Zambia 1999 High Court judgment

Condemnation of judicial corporal punishment – Banda v The People (2002) AHRLR 260 (ZaHC 1999)

In 1999 the High Court heard an appeal against a sentence of ten strokes of the cane handed down by the magistrates’ court (John Banda v The People HP A/6/1998). The court set aside the sentence of corporal punishment against the appellant. It further found that the sections providing for the use of corporal punishment as a sentence were in direct conflict with article 15 of the Zambian Constitution, declared them unconstitutional and ordered that they should be repealed from the Penal Code.


Subsequent law reform

A number of penal laws have been repealed/amended to reflect the above High Court judgment – provisions authorising “disciplinary” corporal punishment in the Prisons Act 1966, provisions authorising judicial corporal punishment in the Penal Code 1931, the Supreme Court Act, the Local Courts Act, the Criminal Procedure Code 1934 and the Reformatory School Rules 1965. Provisions in other penal laws are still to be formally repealed, including the Prisons Rules 1966, the Juveniles Act 1956 and the Approved Schools Rules. The draft new Constitution includes prohibition of corporal punishment of children in all settings, including the home.


Further information

  • The full text of the Zambian judgment is available here.
  • For further information on the law relating to corporal punishment and progress towards full prohibition, see the Global Initiative country report for Zambia.