Jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s courts in terms of the Jurisdiction of Regional Courts Amendment Act 31 of 2008 (the “Act”)

The commencement of this Act has now largely aligned the rules of the Magistrate’s court with that of the High Court. For example, the addition of the application for irregular proceedings.

Moreover, in the past, the Magistrate’s court could only hear matters that did not exceed R100 000. The threshold has now been raised to R300 000. In addition, the (Regional) Magistrate’s courts can now also deal with matrimonial matters, such as divorce.

The jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s court now includes the following people and causes:

Persons (section 28 of the “Act”):

  • A person who lives, is employed, or carries out business within the geographical area of the court
  • Any partnership that carries out business or has a partner residing within the geographical area of the court
  • Any person who has instituted any action or process themselves
  • Any person, if the cause of action arose entirely within the geographical area of the court.

Causes (section 29 of the “Act” but subject to the provisions of the National Credit Act of 1995 and Magistrates court Act of 1944 as amended):

  • Delivery and transfer of property
  • Eviction proceedings
  • Disputes related to rights of way
  • Mortgage bonds or liquid documents
  • Credit agreements
  • Motions for couples married in community of property to obtain the relevant authority to perform transactions, when one spouse is withholding consent
  • Liquidation proceedings in accordance with the Close Corporations Act
  • Claims that do not exceed R300 000.00
  • The annulment of marriages/civil unions, divorce and other matters in accordance with the Customary act 1998. These can be referred to the Magistrates court if either of the parties live in the geographical area of the court and have been a South African resident for at least one year.

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