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Regulations for Sexual Offences Courts in Place

February 10, 2020

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Regulations setting out the requirements for designated sexual offences courts are in place.

The justice and constitutional development department published the regulations in Government Gazette 43000.

The Regulations Relating to Sexual Offences Courts were drawn up in terms of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007.

The regulations focus on requirements for designated courts, facilities, devices and equipment, services and special measures in respect of hearings.

The Judicial Matters Second Amendment Act of 2013 recently came into force with the exception of section 4 that deals with section 67 of the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act of 2007 focused on regulations for sexual offences courts.

Designated courts are expected to have a waiting area for complainants, a testifying room, a court preparation room and a consultation room.

Each designated court must have a court preparation programme aimed at “familiarising complainants and witnesses in sexual offence cases with the court environment, with a view to preparing them to testify in court and providing assistance and support to them, in line with the standard operating procedures for court preparation officers”.

Trauma debriefing must also be available for judicial officers, prosecutors, court preparation officers, victim assistance officers and court officials.

Meanwhile, in Notice 107, the department has published amendments to the rules regulating the conduct of the proceedings of magistrates’ courts.

The amendments were drafted in terms of the Rules Board for Courts of Law Act.

An amendment is inserted into Rule 14 stipulating that the “plaintiff may, after the defendant has served a plea, apply to court for summary judgement on each of such claims in the summons…”

The amendments also stipulate that the plaintiff shall deliver a notice of application for summary judgment and an affidavit within 15 days after the date of service of the plea.

Sub-rule 2(c) declares that “if the claim is founded on a liquid document, a copy of the document shall be annexed to such affidavit, and the notice of application for summary judgement shall state that the application will be set down for hearing on a stated day, not being less than 15 days from the date of the delivery thereof”.

Amendments are also introduced to Rule 33 focused on steps to be followed by the party to whom costs and expenses have been awarded.

The amendments come into effect on 9 March 2020.