The Laws and Courts of South Africa

South Africa has different kinds of courts for different legal matters, ranging from a court for civilians and militants. Using only one court system, this means that can represent you in some of the courts by finding a creative solution to the legal problem.

The supreme law of South Africa

It sets out the duties of the citizens, rights, and it defines the structure of the government. The elected parliament of 1994 in the South African general elections draw up the Constitution. President Nelson Mandela made it widely known on 18 December 1996, throughout that year, the Constitution amended by seventeen amendment acts and it exclusively came into effect on 4 February 1997.
The law of the Republic of South Africa A diverse legal system created by the interweaving of a number of distinct constitutional traditions, a civil law system derived from the Dutch, a common-law system derived from the British and a customary law system derived from indigenous Africans. The Roman-Dutch influence is most visible in its substantive private law. South Africa follows the English law, generally in both the civil and criminal procedure and company law, constitutional law and the law of evidence, while Roman-Dutch law are reflected in the South African contract law, which is family law, law of things law of persons, etc. South Africa’s common law and civil law elements form the basis of the laws in neighboring countries like Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, introduced during the process of colonization.
South African Courts, established under the Constitution of South Africa there are civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in South Africa. The country has one national court system throughout the entire nine provinces, and all these courts funded and supported by the Constitutional Development and Department of Justice.

South African Judiciary

It sets out the duties of the citizens, rights, and it defines the structure of the government. The elected parliament of 1994 in the South African general elections draw up the Constitution. President Nelson Mandela made it widely known on 18 December 1996, throughout that year, the Constitution amended by seventeen amendment acts and it exclusively came into effect on 4 February 1997.
The law of the Republic of South Africa A diverse legal system created by the interweaving of a number of distinct constitutional traditions, a civil law system derived from the Dutch, a common-law system derived from the British and a customary law system derived from indigenous Africans. The Roman-Dutch influence is most visible in its substantive private law. South Africa follows the English law, generally in both the civil and criminal procedure and company law, constitutional law and the law of evidence, while Roman-Dutch law are reflected in the South African contract law, which is family law, law of things law of persons, etc. South Africa’s common law and civil law elements form the basis of the laws in neighboring countries like Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Swaziland and Zimbabwe, introduced during the process of colonization.
South African Courts, established under the Constitution of South Africa there are civil and criminal courts responsible for the administration of justice in South Africa. The country has one national court system throughout the entire nine provinces, and all these courts funded and supported by the Constitutional Development and Department of Justice.

Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court takes on the final court appeals for all matters, no longer confined to constitutional matters entirely and its decisions are binding on all courts. The Constitutional Court produces the binding decision on the constitutionality of an act of the provincial legislature or of Parliament but the Supreme Court and High Court of appeals might make an order declaring an act is unconstitutional. The Court made up of eleven judges and the chief judge is the Chief Justice of South Africa. The Constitutional Court found on the Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Appeals found in Bloemfontein, this is the court of last resort in all except constitution matters. The chief judge of this court is the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal. Established by the South African Act, it contains its origins in the appellate division of the Supreme Court of South Africa.

High Court

The High Court of South Africa possesses general jurisdiction over their distinct areas. The Court listens to the appeals from the magistrate court within their demographic and acts as a court of the first instance for cases outside the jurisdiction of the magistrate court. The High Court divisions are in: -The Eastern Cape Division at Grahamstown with local seats at Bhisho, Mthatha and Port Elizabeth -The Free State Division at Bloemfontein -The Gauteng Division at Pretoria with a local seat at Johannesburg -The KwaZulu-Natal Division at Pietermaritzburg with a local seat at Durban -The North West Division at Mahikeng -The Northern Cape Division at Kimberley -The Western Cape Division at Cape Town The Limpopo Division at Polokwane -The Mpumalanga Division at Nelspruit. A local seat of the Limpopo Division at Thohoyandou is at present in existence.

Magistrate Court

There are approximately 350 magisterial districts and each district served by a magistrate court. The magistrate court deals with all crimes except murder, rape and treason and it can impose a fine of no more than R120 000-00, a sentence of no longer than three years imprisonments and can examine a civil case where the value of the claim is no more than R200 000-00. The districts magistrate grouped into regions, and each allows a regional court with jurisdiction over all crimes. Except for the crimes listed above and can impose a fine of no more than R60 000-00 and a sentence of no more than fifteen years imprisonments. They can examine civil cases where the value of the claim is no more than R400 000-00, and divorce cases.

Specialist Court

These courts was established by the parliament to handle specific areas of law and types of case and some cases the court retains exclusive jurisdiction and the matters are excluded from the jurisdiction of the magistrate court and High Court. These courts have a status similar to the High Court. – The Electoral Court – examines matters in particular appeals against decisions of the Electoral Commission and matters related to elections -Labour Court – deals with labour law cases that arise under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Employment Equity Act, the Labour Relations Act and the relationship between the employer, employee and trade union. The Labour Appeal Court is similar to the Supreme Court of Appeal, hears appeals from the Labour Court. -Land Claims Court – deals with cases involving agricultural labour tenants, people with no secure rights to the land on which they live and claims for restitution to communities and people dispossessed of land under racially discriminatory laws. -Tax Courts – handles disputes between the South African Revenue Services and taxpayers over tax assessments.

Military Courts

South African National Defense Force are subject to the Military Discipline Code and the jurisdiction of the martial court. Grave offences are examined in an in a Court of a Senior Military or Court of a Military Judge. The Court has a Judge and warrant officers as assessors. The judge decides the questions and both the judge and assessors decide the questions of fact by majority rule. Offences like rape, treason, murder, culpable homicide, war crimes and crimes against humanity held and examined in the ordinary civilian courts. Appeals from this court consist of a magistrate or civilian judge, an officer with command experience and a legally trained military officer. A civilian High Court is involved in the ruling on this court and subsequently to the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal only on the grounds of procedural constitutional invalidity or unfairness.

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