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    South Africa Criminal & Civil Court Record Check
South Africa Background Check
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Search South Africa Courts, Boards and Tribunals nationwide for Criminal and Civil Court records. Provincial civil or criminal records check, search the court system for the Provinces of Eastern Cape, Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, North-West, Western Cape

Comprehensive Nationwide civil & criminal records check for South Africa covers available courts, boards and Tribunals of the following. Lookup lawsuits, judgments, convictions, rulings, opinions, legal proceedings, trials, case summaries, dispositions and other dockets.
  South Africa Constitutional Court - Highest Court in all constitutional matters.
South Africa Supreme Court of Appeal - is the highest court in respect of all other matters.
High Courts
Circuit Courts - itinerant courts, each presided over by a judge of the provincial division
South Africa Special Income Tax Courts
Labour Courts and Labour Appeal Courts
Land Claims Courts - hears matters on the restitution of land rights that people lost after 1913 as a result of racially discriminatory land laws.
The Water Tribunal
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Small Claims Courts
Magistrates� Courts
Community Courts and Courts for Chiefs and Headmen
High court divisions: Cape of Good Hope (with its seat in Cape Town); Eastern Cape (Grahamstown); Northern Cape (Kimberley); Orange Free State (Bloemfontein); Natal (Pietermaritzburg); Transvaal (Pretoria); Transkei (Mthatha); Ciskei (Bhisho); Venda (Sibasa), and Bophuthatswana (Mmabatho).

Local Divisions: the Witwatersrand Local division (Johannesburg), Durban and Coast Local Division (Durban), and South-Eastern Cape Division (Port Elizabeth). These courts are presided over by judges in the provincial courts concerned.

South Africa overview of the court system

Higher Courts. The Higher Courts, such as the Supreme Court, have various divisions. For instance, the Supreme Court of South Africa consists of an Appellate Division, provincial divisions, and local divisions. The Chief Justice heads the Appellate Division; Judge Presidents, the various provincial divisions. Each Supreme Court goes on Circuit to hear cases in towns and cities away from the seat of the division.

Lower Courts. Magistrates Courts may be divided into two main groups, district courts and regional courts. There are 269 magisterial districts. The criminal jurisdiction of a magistrate's court is limited to all crimes other than murder, rape and high treason. The maximum sentence which a magistrate's court can impose is limited to 2 months imprisonment or a fine of R20 000 per charge. Ninety-nine percent of all the criminal cases in the Republic of South Africa are tried in the lower courts.

Regional Courts. Regional courts hear more serious criminal cases in which heavier sentences can be imposed. They can also hear rape cases and murder cases, except where the death penalty is a possible sentence. They can impose a maximum jail sentence of 10 years and a maximum fine of R200,000, per charge.

Special Courts: Under the NPA of 1991, provision is made for the constitution of Special Criminal Courts. These special courts will deal with cases related to "unrest," cases of public violence and cases involving intimidation. In order for these courts to be effective, special procedural and evidentiary rules need to be applied. The idea is to establish mobile courts in certain geographic areas to bring justice closer to the people. (NPA, 1991: 33). At the time of writing no such courts have been established. A Commission of Inquiry regarding the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation was appointed on 24 October, 1991, by the State President (Sec 3 of the Prevention of Public Violence and Intimidation Act No. 139 of 1991). Offices were set up in Pretoria and Cape Town. In order to ensure that steps are taken against perpetrators of violence and intimidation, the Commission may refer any evidence constituting an offense to the relevant Attorney-General and to the Special Criminal Courts (NPA, 1991: 24).

Dispute Resolution Committees. The National Peace Secretariat has established 11 regional dispute resolution committees and approximately 85 local dispute resolution committees since 1992

Special Superior Courts. If an accused is arraigned before a superior court for a charge relating to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order, the State President may constitute a special superior court to conduct the trial upon the recommendation of the Minister. (Sect. 148 of CPA).

Juvenile Courts. Juvenile Courts handle cases in which persons under 18 years-old are charged with criminal offenses. In Juvenile Courts the cases are heard in camera.

Non-state Courts. Judicial powers may be conferred upon any African Chief or headman for trying and sentencing any African person who has committed any offense under Common Law or under Black Laws and customs (except for any offense referred to in the third schedule (sec 20) of the Black Administration Act). The same judicial powers may be conferred upon an African in an urban area (sec 21(A) of Black Administration Act 38 1927 as amended by Act 94 of 1980). Non-state courts in the Black townships arguably hear more criminal cases than the formal courts, but they tend to turn murder and rape cases over to the police.

Judges: There are 146 Judges of the Supreme Court. There is only one woman Judge. There is one Indian Judge. All other judges are white males. (Hansard Parliamentary Debates [hereinafter Hansards], 1993: 816). Excluding the "Self-Governing" territories, there are 867 white magistrates, 9 black magistrates, 12 colored magistrates and 16 Indian magistrates, for a total of 904 magistrates. There are 169 white Regional Court magistrates and 2 Indian Regional Court magistrates, for a total of 171 Regional Court magistrates. There are no colored or black Regional Court magistrates. . Judicial officers in the Supreme Court are called "judges" and in the lower courts, "magistrates". The State President appoints judges on recommendation of the Bar Councils. The only legal requirement for being appointed a judge is that the appointee be a "fit and proper person"; no formal academic or professional qualifications are required. In practice, however, judges are appointed primarily from the ranks of senior advocates in private practice. In some exceptional cases senior civil servants with legal qualifications are also appointed as judges. In practice, thus, all judges have at least the LLB 5 year degree (Bacallareum Legum). Magistrates, unlike judges, are civil servants. The Minister of Justice appoints magistrates for specific districts or regions. Magistrates are appointed from within the Department of Justice personnel, usually from amongst the ranks of prosecutors. Magistrates must hold a degree in law or have passed the Civil Service Higher examinations (Sec 10(a) Magistrates Court Act No.32, 1944). Seminars are held for criminal court magistrates during which the criminal law, law of evidence, law of criminal procedure and assessment for sentence are discussed. A seminar is also held for prospective regional magistrates. After the seminar, the regional magistrates are evaluated for a period of 5 months during which their suitability for appointment to regional courts is determined.





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