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The cases we discuss in this article raise fundamental questions about access to justice. Inefficient delivery of judgments, issuance of unreasoned or thinly reasoned rulings, inordinate delay in hearing matters, and awarding of unwarranted costs in public interest matters all militate against access to justice. Access to justice is important in maintaining law and order and promoting the rule of law. As US Supreme Court Judge, Stevens, stated in Bush v Gore 531 US 98 (2000), ‘It is confidence in the men and women who administer the judicial system that is the true backbone of the rule of law.’ Where institutions fail, the public may resort to self-help mechanisms as a means to exercise their sovereign power under the Constitution which may negatively affect the consolidation of democracy. The warning of Julius Nyerere, first President of Tanzania seems more relevant to the Constitutional Court of Zambia today than ever before: unless judges do their work properly, ‘none of the objectives of our democratic society can be implemented.’