Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay

Anthony Gubbay obtained his BA degree at Wits and an MA and LL M at Cambridge. He joined the Bar in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) in 1957. In 1959 he was part of a team defending 100 members of the-then African National Congress of Southern Rhodesia in a challenge to the detention of 100 of its members without trial. Building an extensive practice he served as President of the Income Tax Appeal Tribunal and also the Patents Tribunal.

In 1977 he was appointed to the High Court in Bulawayo, and thereafter to the Appellate Division in Harare. Justice Gubbay played an important role in the post-democratic court led first by Chief Justice John Fieldsend and thereafter Enoch Dumbutshena. Serving five times as Acting Chief Justice, Gubbay was appointed Chief Justice in 1990. He served in that position for 11 years, delivering a series of ground-breaking judgments affirming human rights. These ranged from freedom of speech and from arbitrary arrest to decriminalising homosexuality and asserting land rights.

In 2001 he was forced from office. The Supreme Court was allowed to be invaded, and he was threatened. He was replaced by a High Court judge, Godfrey Chidyausiku, who had served as a deputy minister, acting attorney-general and member of the Politburo of the ruling party.

Gubbay has received wide international recognition. He is an Honorary Bencher of Lincoln’s Inn, a patron of the Association of Commonwealth Judges and Magistrates and was appointed to the Permanent Court of Arbitration.