THE SOUTH AFRICAN JUDICIARY

 

Deputy Chief Justice
Chief Justice
Secretary-General: Office of the Chief Justice
President: Supreme Court of Appeal
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The Judiciary

 

Q: What is the Judiciary

A: The Judiciary is the body of Judges and Magistrates who preside over matters before all the courts in the Republic of South Africa.

 

Q: What / Who are the Heads of Courts?

A: The Heads of Courts is the term used to describe the collective leadership of the Judiciary in the country. Essentially, Heads of Courts comprise the Chief Justice as the Head of the Constitutional Court; the President of the Supreme Court of Appeal; the Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal in his capacity as the Head of the Electoral Court; the Judges President of the various divisions of the High Court and Courts of equivalent status like the Labour Court and the Land Claims Court.

Judges

 

Q: Who is the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa?

A: The Hon Mogoeng Mogoeng is the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa.

 

Q: Who is the Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa?

A: The Hon Bess Nkabinde is the Acting Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa.

 

Q: Who appoints the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice?

A:  In terms of Section 174 (3) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa; the President as head of the national executive, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the leaders of parties represented in the National Assembly; appoints the Chief Justice and the Deputy Chief Justice and, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission, appoints the President and Deputy President of the Supreme Court of Appeal.

 

Q: Who appoints Judges?

A: In terms of Section 174 (6) of the Constitution, the President appoints Judges of all Courts, with the exception of the Constitutional Court, on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. In the case of Judges of the Constitutional Court, the JSC is required to submit to the President a list of nominees with three names more than the number of appointments to be made, where-after the Judges are appointed from the list by the President, as Head of the National Executive, after consulting the Chief Justice and leaders of the parties represented in the National Assembly.

 

Q: How do I file a complaint against a Judge?

A: Any person who has a complaint against a Judge for allegedly contravening the Code of Judicial Conduct can lodge the complaint with the Secretariat of the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) which is located in the Office of the Chief Justice.

The Judicial Service Commission can be contacted through the Secretary, Mr Sello Chiloane, Judicial Service Commission, Constitutional Court, Private Bag X1, Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg, 2017, Tel: (010) 493 2500. Click here for more information on the JSC.

 

Q: How do I address a Judge?

A: Judges are referred to as Your Honour. Otherwise, Madam or Sir.

 

Q: What is the difference between Judges and Magistrates

A: A Judge is a presiding officer in a Superior Court and a Magistrate presides over matters in a Regional or District Magistrates’ Court.

 

Q: Who appoints Magistrates?

A: Magistrates are appointed by the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development on the advise of the Magistrates Commission.

 

Q: What is the Magistrates Commission?

A: The Magistrates Commission is a statutory body established in terms of the Magistrate’s Act, 1993 (Act NO. 90 of 1993) to, amongst others, make recommendations to the Minister on the appointment of Magistrates.

 

Q: How can I lodge a complaint against a Magistrate?

A: Any conduct by a Magistrate that is alleged to be improper may be reported to the Judicial Head of the Court (A Regional Court President or a Chief Magistrate) wherein the Magistrate concerned presides. The matter will then be forwarded to the Magistrates Commission; the body that is tasked with investigating and conducting disciplinary hearings on matters involving Magistrates.

 

Q: How can I contact the Magistrates Commission?

A: The Magistrates Commission can be contacted through Mr AD Schoeman, Secretary.

Magistrates Commission Tel: 012-325 3951, Fax: 012-325 3957, Fax2Email: 086 507 0144, E-mail: dschoeman@justice.gov.za

 

Q: How do I address a Magistrate?

A: Magistrates are referred to as Your Worship.

 

Q: Who trains Judges and Magistrates?

A: The South African Judicial Education Institute (SAJEI) co-ordinates all training and related matters for all Judicial Officers.

Click here for more information on SAJEI

 

Q: What can I wear in Court?

A: All persons appearing before any court of law in the country are expected to be as presentable and appropriately dressed as is humanly possible. Clothing that is too revealing should be avoided at all cost.  Dark colours are recommended.

 

Court Information

 

Q: What are the Courts?

A: The Constitution provides that the courts are—

(a)           the Constitutional Court (The highest court);

(b)           the Supreme Court of Appeal;

(c)           the High Court of South Africa, and any high court of appeal that may be established by an Act of Parliament to hear appeals from any court of status similar to; the High Court of South Africa;

(d)           the Magistrates’ Courts; and

(e)           any other court established or recognized in terms of an Act of Parliament, including any court  of a status similar to either the High Court of South Africa or the Magistrates’ Courts.

 

Q: How many Courts are there in South Africa?

A: There is 1 Constitutional Court; 1 Supreme Court of Appeal and nine Divisions of the High Court in South Africa (one in each province). There is one Regional Court Division for every High Court and there are 370 District Magistrates’ Courts.

 

Q: What is the Highest Court in South Africa called?

A: In terms of the Constitution 17th Amendment Act of August 2013; the Constitutional Court is the country’s Highest Court on all matters.

The Office of the Chief Justice

 

Q: What is the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ)?

A: The Office of the Chief Justice is a national government department that has been established to provide support to the Chief Justice in carrying out his duties as Head of the Constitutional Court and as Head of the Judiciary in South Africa.

 

Q: Who is the head of the Office of the Chief Justice (OCJ)?

A: The Head of the OCJ is the Secretary General. Currently, Ms Memme Sejosengwe is the Secretary General of the OCJ.

 

Q: Where is the Office of the Chief Justice situated?

A: The Office of the Chief Justice is currently housed at  188,14th Road, Noordwyk, Midrand, 1685

 

Contact Details

Office of the Chief Justice

188, 14th Road, Noordwyk, Midrand, 1685

 

Private Bag X10, Marshalltown, 2107

 

Tel: +27 10 493 2500 (Switchboard)

 

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