Article 78(1) of the Namibian Constitution makes provision for the establishment of the Lower Courts. Further to this, Article 83 stipulates as follows:
- Lower Courts shall be established by an Act of Parliament and shall have the jurisdiction
and adopt the procedures prescribed by such Act and regulations made thereunder.
- Lower Courts shall be presided over by Magistrates or other judicial officers appointed in accordance with procedures prescribed by Act of Parliament.’
It is important to note that the constitutional term ‘Lower Courts’ has reference to the Magistrates Courts as reflected in the Magistrates Court Act, 1944 (Act No. 32 of 1944). All 34 Magistrate Courts are courts of record, whose acts and judicial proceedings are recorded mechanically/digitally for a perpetual memorial which serves as the authentic and official evidence of the proceedings of the court. Proceedings in both criminal and civil cases are conducted in an open court, except for cases involving minors or one in which the interest of justice otherwise many require.