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South Africa
NATIONAL LEGISLATION OVERVIEWS
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Magistrates' Courts Act, No. 32 of 1944

Long title


To consolidate and amend the law relating to Lower Courts.

[...as amended by Act 1993_120_072_19930720]

Table of contents
(as partially amended)

SECTION TITLE

DIVISION OF ACT
1. Definitions
PART I. COURTS
CHAPTER I. ESTABLISHMENT AND NATURE OF COURTS
2. Minister's powers relative to districts, regional divisions and courts [...Title amended by Act 1993_120_002_19930720 - was entitled "Minister's powers relative to districts and courts"] [... Title amended by Act 2008_031_002_20081105 - was entitled "Minister's powers relative to districts, regional divisions, civil divisions, family divisions and courts"]
3. Existing courts, districts and regional divisions to continue, and interpretation of certain expressions [...Title amended by Act 1993_120_003_19930720 - was entitled "Existing courts and districts to continue"]
4. Nature of the courts and force of process
5. Courts to be open to the public, with exceptions.
6. Medium to be employed in proceedings.
7. Public access to records and custody thereof [...Title amended by Act 1967_008_001_19670217 - was entitled "Public access to records"]
7A. Custody of civil summonses and returns thereto [...inserted by Act 197_025_002_19870624]
CHAPTER II. JUDICIAL OFFICERS
8. Before whom courts to be held
9. Appointment of judicial officers
9bis. ... [...inserted by Act 1965_048_002_19650505] [... repealed by Act 1996_104_19971127 - was entitled "Establishment of Regional Divisions Appointments Advisory Board"]
9ter. Establishment of Senior Civil and Family Magistrates Appointments Advisory Board [...inserted by Act 1993_120_008_19930720]
9quat. Appointment of certain practitioners as civil, senior civil or family magistrates in acting capacity [...inserted by Act 1993_120_008_19930720]
10. Qualifications for appointment of judicial officers [...Title amended by Act 1993_120_009_19930720 by way of unmarked omission and unmarked insertion - was entitled "Qualifications for appointments of judicial officers] [...Title amended by Act 1998_066_004_19981007 by way of unmarked omission and unmarked insertion - was entitled "Qualifications for appointments of judicial officers] [...Title amended by Act 2010_019_002_20101207 by way of unmarked omission and unmarked insertion - was entitled "Qualification for appointment of judicial officers]
11. Existing judicial officers to continue in office, and interpretation of certain expressions [...Title amended by Act 1993_120_010_19930720 - was entitled "Existing judicial officers to continue in office]
12. Powers of judicial officers
CHAPTER III. OFFICERS OF THE COURT.
13. Clerk of the court.
13A.Registrar of regional division [... inserted by Act 2008_031_005_20081105]
14. Messengers of the court
15. Service of process by the police.
16. Messengers' duties respecting detection of persons by order of court.
17. Messenger's return to be evidence [...Title amended by Act 1977_091_004_19770701 - was entitled "Messengers' return to be evidence"]
18. ... [...repealed by Act 1986_090_064_19860910 Sch - was entitled "Suspension of messenger for misconduct"]**
18A.... [...inserted by Act 1983_053_001_19830504[...repealed by Act 1986_090_064_19860910 Sch - was entitled "Keeping of trust account and books of account by messenger"]** 
19. Officers appointed previously to remain in office.
CHAPTER IV. PRACTITIONERS.
20. Advocates and attorneys.
21. Candidate attorneys [... Title amended by Act 1989_087_035_1989_087_035 by way of unmarked deletion and unmarked insertion - was entitled "Articled clerks"]
22. Agents.
23. Misconduct of practitioners.
CHAPTER V. RULES OF COURT.
24. ... [...repealed by Act 1970_053_007_19700923 - was entitled "Rules of Court"]
25. ... [ repealed by Act 1985_107_010_19850731 - was entitled "Rules Board"]
PART II. CIVIL MATTERS.
CHAPTER VI. CIVIL JURISDICTION.
26. Area of jurisdiction
27. Jurisdiction of periodical court.
28. Jurisdiction in respect of person [... Title amended by Act 2008_031_006_20081105 - was entitled "Jurisdiction in respect of persons"]
29. Jurisdiction in respect of causes of action
29A.Jurisdiction on respect of appeals against decisions of Black chiefs, headmen and chief's deputies [...inserted by Act 1986_034_002_19860423 Sch]
30. Arrests and interdicts
30bis,Attachment to found or confirm jurisdiction [...inserted by Act 1964_080_008_19640624]
31. Automatic rent interdict.
32. Attachment of property in security of rent.
33. Curator ad litem
34. Assessors
35. Transfer from one court to another.
36. What judgments may be rescinded.
37. Incidental jurisdiction.
38. Abandonment of part claim.
39. Deduction of admitted debt
40. Splitting of claims disallowed.
41. Joinder of Plaintiffs.
42. Joinder of defendants.
43. Jurisdiction cumulative.
44. Application of sections 34, 35 and 37 to 43 inclusive to claim in reconvention
45. Jurisdiction by consent of parties.
46. Matters beyond the jurisdiction
47. Counterclaim exceeding jurisdiction.
48. Judgment.
49. Cession of costs.
50. Removal of actions from court to provincial or local division.
CHAPTER VII. WITNESSES AND EVIDENCE.
51. Modes of procuring attendance of witnesses and penalty for non-attendance.
51bis.Witness fees [...inserted by Act 1964_080_010_19640624]
52. Interrogatories.
53. Commissions de bene esse
54. Pro-trial procedure for formulating issues.
54A.... [...inserted by Act 1986_034_002_19860423 Sch] [...repealed by Act 1988_045_025_19880422 - was entitled "Application of Black law"]
CHAPTER VIII. RECOVERY OF DEBTS [...Title substitited by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "CHAPTER VIII. RECOVERY OF SMALL DEBTS"]
55. Definition [...substituted by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "Recovery of small debts"]
56. Recovery of costs of letter of demand [...substituted by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "Where no appearance is entered"]
57. Admissoni of liability and undertaking to pay debt in instalments or otherwise [...substituted by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "Where appearance is entered"]
58. Consent to judgement or to judgment and an order for payment of judgment debt in instalments [...substituted by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "No further pleadings necessary"]
58A.Judgment by default shall be deemed to be judgment of court [...inserted by Act 1987_025_006_19870624]
59. Written request constitutes first document in an action [...substituted by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "Cost"]
60. Prohibition of recovery of fees or remuneration by certain persons in connection with the collection of debts [...substituted by Act 1976_063_001_19760514 - was entitled "Procedure not compulsory"]
CHAPTER IX. EXECUTION.
61. Definition.
62. Power to grant or set aside a warrant.
63. Execution to be issued within three years
64. Execution in case of judgment debt ceded.
65. ...  [...substituted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514 - was entitled "Enquiry into financial position of debtor"]
65A.Notice to judgment debtor if judgment remains unsatisfied [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65B....  [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514[... repealed by Act 1997_081_004_19971210 - was entitled "Drawing up and service of notice on judgment debtor"]
65C.Joinder of proceedings [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65D.Determination of judgment debtor-s financial position [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65E.Postponement of proceedings pending execution [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65F.... [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514[... repealed by Act 1997_081_008_19971210 - was entitled "Committal for contempt of court"]
65G.... [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514[... repealed by Act 1997_081_009_19971210 - was entitled "Non-compliance with conditions of suspension order"]
65H.... [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514[... repealed by Act 1997_081_010_19971210 - was entitled "Warrant for arrest and detention of judgment debtor"]
65I.Application for administration order has preference [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65J.Emoluments attachment orders [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65K.Orders as to costs relating to certain proceedings [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
65L.... [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514[... repealed by Act 1997_081_013_19971210 - was entitled "Releasing of judgment debtor from prison"]
65M.Enforcement of certain judgments of Supreme Court [...inserted by Act 1976_063_002_19760514]
66. Manner of execution.
67. Property exempt from execution.
68. Property executable.
69. Interpleader claims.
70. Sale in execution gives good title.
71. Surplus after execution.
71A.Movable property which messenger cannot dispose of in terms of this Act, shall be sold by public auction [...inserted by Act 1970_053_016_19700923]
72. Attachment of debts [...Title amended by Act 1976_063_004_19760514 - was entitled "Debts and emoluments may be attached"]
73. Order for payment by instalments
74. Granting of administration orders [...Title amended by Act 1976_063_006_19760514 - was entitled "Administration orders"]
74A.Documents to be submitted with application for administration [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74B.Hearing of application for administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74C.Contents of administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74D.Authorizing of issue of emoluments attachment order or garnishee order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74E.Appointment of administrator [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74F.Notice of and objections to administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74G.List of creditors and debts and additions thereto [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74H.Inclusion of creditors in list after granting of administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74I.Payments by debtor in terms of administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74J.Duties of administrator [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74K.Realization of assets by administrator [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74L.Remuneration and expenses of administrator [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74M.Furnishing of information by administrator [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74N.Failure by administrator to perform his duties [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74O.Costs of application for administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74P.Remedies restricted by administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74Q.Suspension, amendment or recision of administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74R.Administration order no bar to sequestration [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74S.Incurring of debts by person subject to administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74T.Changes of address by debtor subject to administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74U.Lapsing of administration order [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74V.Interruption of prescription [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
74W.Failure of administrator to carry out certain duty [...inserted by Act 1976_063_006_19760514]
75. Jurisdiction to decide disputes arising out of garnishee orders
75bis.Review of conditions of sale of immovable property to be sold in execution of a Supreme Court judgment [...inserted by Act 1964_080_011_19640624]
76. Execution or payment is discharge pro tanto
77. Saving of existing law prohibiting attachment.
78. Execution or suspension in case of appeal, etc
79. Person who has made a nulla bona return not to incur debts
CHAPTER X. COSTS
80. Costs to be in accordance with scales and to be taxed.
81. Review of taxation.
CHAPTER XI. APPEAL AND REVIEW.
82. By consent, decision of magistrate's court may be final.
83. Appeals from magistrates' courts
84. Time, manner and conditions of appeal
85. No peremption of appeal by satisfaction of judgment.
86. Respondent may abandon judgment.
87. Procedure of court of appeal.
88. Execution of judgment of court of appeal.
PART III. CRIMINAL MATTERS.
CHAPTER XII. CRIMINAL JURISDICTION.
89. Jurisdiction in respect of offences [...Title amended by Act 1959_075_001_19590717 - was entitled "Criminal jurisdiction in respect of' crimes"]
90. Local limits of jurisdiction.
91. Criminal jurisdiction of periodical court.
92. Limits of jurisdiction in the matter of punishments [...Title amended by Act 1959_016_001_19590329 - was entitled "Jurisdiction in the punishments"] [...Title amended by Act 1974_094_030_19741130 - was entitled "Limits of jurisdiction in the matter of punishment"]
93. When summary trial to be turned into preparatory examination.
93bis. Transfer of proceedings to court of a regional division [...inserted by Act 1952_040_023_19520627]
93ter. Magistrate to be assisted by assessors at certain criminal proceedings [...inserted by Act 1954_014_003_19540402] [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "__"] [...Title amended by Act 1998_067_002_19981007 - was entitled "Magistrate may be assisted by assessors"\]
93quat.Regulations pertaining to assessors [...inserted by Act 1998_067_003_19981007]
CHAPTER XIII. REMITTAL.
94. Cases remitted for trial or sentence [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "__"]
95. Jurisdiction in respect of punishments in remitted cases[... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "__"]
CHAPTER XIV. REVIEW [...Title amended by Act 1963_019_017_19630315 - was entitled "CHAPTER XIV. REVIEW AS OF COURSE"]
96. ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "What sentences subject to automatic review"]
97. ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Submission of records and remarks to judge for consideration"]
98. ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Proceeding on review"]
98bis. ...  [...inserted by Act 1963_019_019_19630315] [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Review subject to certificate of a judge"]
99. ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Case may be set down for argument"]
CHAPTER XV. EXECUTION OF SENTENCES.
100. ...  [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Warrant required for commitment to gaol"]
101 ... [...Title amended by Act Act 1963_037_001_19630502 - was entitled "Execution of sentence suspended under certain conditions"] [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Execution of sentence not suspended unless bail granted"]
102 ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Person sentenced to whipping to be detained pending review"]
CHAPTER XVI. CRIMINAL APPEALS.
103 ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Appeals"]
104 ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Appeal by prosecutor"]
105 ... [... repeal by Act 1977_051_344_19770506 Sch4 - was entitled "Appeal to Appellate Division of Supreme Court"]
PART IV. 
CHAPTER XVII. OFFENCES
106 penalty [sic - capitalisation] for disobedience of judgment or order of court [... Title amended by Act 1997_081_014_19971210 by way of unmarked omission and unmarked insertion - was entitled "Penalty for disobedience of order of court"]
106A.Offence by garnishee [...inserted by Act 1976_063_008_19760514]
106B.Offence by employer  [...inserted by Act 1976_063_008_19760514]
107 Offences relating to execution
108 Custody and punishment for contempt of court.
109 Judgment debtor to inform court of his address.
PART V.
CHAPTER XVIII. GENERAL AND SUPPLEMENTARY.
110 Pronouncements on validity of law or conduct of President [...Title amended by Act 1997_080_001_19971210 - was entitled "Jurisdiction as to plea of ultra vires"]
111 Amendment of proceedings.
112 Administration of oath or affirmation.
113 Settlement of conflicting decisions in difference provinces.
114 Savings and non-application of Act.
115 Saving of pending
115A.Application of Act to the territory of South-West Africa [...inserted by Act 1970_053_021_19700923]
116 Laws repealed.
117 Short title.
Sch.1 SCHEDULE 1. LAWS REPEALED [s116] [...Title relabeled by Act 1998_067_004_19981007 - was labeled "SCHEDULE. LAWS REPEALED"] 
Sch.2SCHEDULE 2. OFFENCES IN RESPECT OF WHICH JUDICIAL OFFICERS MUST BE ASSISTED BY TWO ASSESSORS IN TERMS OF SECTOIN 93ter(2) [s93ter(2)]
 
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As unamended Act 1944_032_000_19440519 EXT.LINK REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1952_040_000_19520627 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1954_014_000_19540402 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1955_062_000_19550706 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1956_050_000_19560622 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1957_068_000_19570628 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1959_016_000_19590329 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1959_075_000_19590717 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1962_093_000_19620704 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1963_019_000_19630315 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1963_037_000_19630502 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1963_093_000_19630712 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1964_080_000_19640624 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1965_048_000_19650505 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1967_008_000_19670217 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1968_070_000_19680621 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1969_015_000_19690326 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1969_017_000_19690326 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1969_101_000_19690630 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1970_017_000_19700306 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
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As amended by Act 1971_080_000_19710714 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1972_102_000_19720705 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1974_029_000_19740315 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1974_094_000_19741120 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
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As amended by Act 1977_051_000_19770506 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1977_091_000_19770701 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1981_028_000_19810311 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1982_059_000_19820421 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1982_105_000_19820707 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
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As amended by Act 1984_056_000_19840502 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1984_088_000_19840725 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1984_109_000_19840815 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1985_019_000_19850403 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1985_107_000_19850731 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1986_034_000_19860423 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1986_090_000_19860910 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1987_025_000_19870624 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1988_045_000_19880422 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1989_087_000_19890614 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1990_107_000_19900727 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1991_004_000_19910328 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1991_118_000_19910710 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_090_000_19930707 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_115_000_19930720 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_120_000_19930720 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_129_000_19930723 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_132_000_19931006 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_157_000_19931015 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1993_204_000_19940126 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1996_018_000_19960419 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1996_088_000_19961122 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
As amended by Act 1996_104_000_19961127 . N/A REQ.INFO LINK
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