Judicial Matters Amendment Bill Released for Comment

Department of Justice and Constitutional Development

Comment is sought on the Draft Judicial Matters Amendment Bill.

According to the justice and constitutional development department invitation for comment, the draft bill seeks to amend numerous acts, the majority of which are administered by the department.

“The amendments are intended to address practical or technical issues, and to give effect to court judgements.”

The Draft Judicial Matters Amendment Bill seeks to amend:

• the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1944, so as to provide for—

• the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings;

• the oath and competency of intermediaries; and

• the giving of evidence through audiovisual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings;

• the Administration of Estates Act, 1965, so as to‒

• make provision for electronic payments; and

• effect a technical amendment;

• the Criminal Procedure Act, 1977, so as to further regulate ‒

• the failure by an accused on bail to appear before court;

• the giving of evidence by means of closed circuit television or similar electronic media; and

• the appointment, oath and competency of intermediaries;

• the Intimidation Act, 1982, so as to delete a provision which has been declared to be unconstitutional;

• the Sheriffs Act, 1986, so as to further regulate –

• the definition of legal practitioner;

• the term of office of members of the Board for Sheriffs;

• the general functions of the Board for Sheriffs; and

• the operating of trust accounts by sheriffs;

• the Magistrates Act, 1993, so as to further regulate—

• the vacation of office by magistrates appointed to the office of a judge; and

• the consultation process to be followed in respect of the adjustment of amounts that have a bearing on certain conditions of service of magistrates;

• the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1997, so as to further regulate aspects relating to the sentencing of a person convicted of rape and compelled rape referred to in Part I of Schedule 2;

• the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998, so as to further –

• the term of office of the National Director of Public Prosecutions and the Deputy National Directors of Public Prosecutions; and

• regulate the due dates of reports by Directors of Public Prosecutions and the National Director of Public Prosecutions;

• the Correctional Services Act, 1998, so at to further regulate conditions relating to community corrections;

• the Debt Collectors Act, 1998, so as to further regulate the term of office of members of the Council for Debt Collectors;

 the Domestic Violence Act, 1998, so as to further regulate the application of the Act by the prosecuting authority and members of the South African Police Service;

• the Protected Disclosures Act, 2000, so as to affect a technical amendment;

• the Judges’ Remuneration and Conditions of Employment Act, 2001, so as to further regulate the conditions of employment of judges of the Constitutional Court, the Supreme Court of Appeal and the High Court;

• the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act, 2007, so as to further—

• regulate the designation of public health establishments for purposes of providing Post Exposure Prophylaxis and carrying out compulsory HIV testing; and

• regulate the manner in which child pornography must be dealt with and be disposed of;

• the Superior Courts, 2013, so as to—

• further regulate applications for leave to appeal;

• provide for—the appointment of intermediaries and the giving of evidence through intermediaries in proceedings other than criminal proceedings;

• the oath and competency of intermediaries; and

• evidence through audiovisual link in proceedings other than criminal proceedings;

• the South African Human Rights Commission Act, 2013, so as to further regulate the powers of the South African Human Rights Commission with respect to its investigations;

• the Legal Practice Act, 2014, so as to further regulate –

• the qualification requirements for admission and enrolment as a legal practitioner;

• the composition of appeal tribunals established under the Act; and

• the obligations of certain legal practitioners relating to the operating of trust accounts; and

• the International Arbitration Act, 2017 so as to effect a technical correction; and

• to provide for matters connected therewith.

Comment is invited until 31 March 2019.

Sabinet Cape Town Office

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