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Rules Regulating the Conduct of the High Court Amended

October 22, 2019

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

22 October 2019

Rules regulating the conduct of the High Court have been amended.

The justice and constitutional development department published the amended rules in Government Gazette 42773 in terms of the Rules Board for Courts of Law Act.

The definition of advocate and attorney now reads as “means a legal practitioner as defined, admitted and enrolled as such, under the Legal Practice Act, 2014 (Act No. 28 of 2014)”.

The phrase “and a person designated to serve process in terms of section 6A of the said Act” has been added to the definition of sheriff.

A new Rule 2 on sittings of the court and recess periods is inserted.

It stipulates that the Judge President of a Division may direct, if it is expedient or in the interests of justice, that the court sits at a time other than any prescribed time, including during recess periods.

An amendment to Rule 4 stipulates “that where service has been effected in accordance with subparagraphs (ii); (iii); (iv); (v) and (vii) of subparagraph (a), the sheriff shall in the return of service set out the details of the manner and circumstances under which such service was effected”.

The travelling allowance for sheriffs is also adjusted to R6 per kilometre.

The amended rules come into effect on 22 November 2019.

Meanwhile, in Gazette 42783, the department published Rules for the Conduct of Proceedings in the Special Tribunals.

The Tribunal President made the rules in terms of Section 9(1)(a) of the Special Investigating Units and Special Tribunal Act of 1996.

The rules focus on, inter alia, issuing Special Tribunal process; service; filing of documents; nature of proceedings; applications; heads of argument; extension of time limits and condonation; close of pleadings; expert witnesses; restraint orders; forfeiture orders and delegation of powers and functions.

The rules came into force on the date of publication.

In a separate matter, the Rules Board for Courts of Law has called for comment on proposed amendments to Form 3 of the Magistrates’ Courts Rules: summons (in which is included an automatic rent interdict).

The following paragraph is to be inserted into Form 3: “Thereafter, within 20 days after filing and serving a notice of intention to defend as aforesaid, file with the clerk of the court (registrar in the Regional Court form) and serve upon the plaintiff or plaintiff’s attorney a plea, exception, notice to strike out with or without a counter-claim.”.

Comment is invited until 6 December 2019.

The Rules Board also calls for comment on proposed amendments to Magistrates’ Courts Rule 54 and the proposed insertion of Form 59: actions by and against partners, a person carrying on business in a name or style other than his or her own name, an unincorporated company, syndicate or association.

According to the department, “some of the envisaged amendments are aimed at aligning the rule with corresponding Uniform Rule 14 of the High Court, albeit with appropriate adjustments. This also entails introducing a new Form 59 into the Magistrates’ Courts Rules, designed along the lines of Form 8 of the Uniform Rules, with variations”.

Comment is invited until 13 December 2019.