Legal Terms

Action Procedure

A civil matter where a letter of demand is sent, thereafter a summons is delivered to the Defendant, and the documents setting out the parties cases are then filed with the appropriate courts. After a few months once the parties have exchanged documents, the trial starts where evidence is given by both parties (the Plaintiff and the Defendant), and a judgment follows in favour or against the Plaintiff.

Affidavit

A written statement made under oath before a Notary, Commissioner of Oaths and or Authorised Officer.

Ante-Nuptial Contract (ANC)

An agreement that arranges the parties’ estates and financial consequences in respect of their desired marital instrument.

Application Procedure

The court’s judgment is based on papers placed before it. The parties (the Applicant and/or the Respondent) go to court and the documents are considered without evidence being delivered.

Civil Matter

When a dispute arises between two or more parties, the action procedure or the application procedure ensues.

Constructive Dismissal

When a dispute arises between two or more parties, the action procedure or the application procedure ensues.

Constructive Dismissal

When an employee resigns because their employer’s behaviour has become so intolerable which made life difficult for the employee at work, and the employee had no choice but to resign.

Contract

Two or more people enter into an agreement which has an offer and acceptance, the parties must have an intention to enter into a contract, the parties must have contractual capacity, the rights and duties of the contract must be possible to perform, the purpose of the contract must be lawful, and formalities must be complied with (such as a written contract) where necessary.

Court

A governmental body that resolves disputes involving people and/or property. There are Small Claims Court, Magistrate’s Court, High Court, Appeal Court, Industrial Court.

Criminal Procedure

When a crime is committed, the matter is reported to the Police, investigations are carried out by an Investigating Officer, and the evidence is given to the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP) who decides to proceed with or reject the case.

Defendant / Respondent

Parties defending a civil matter. The Defendant is a person in an action procedure and the Respondent is a person in the application procedure.

Delict

A person causes damage to another person or their property due to their negligence or intentional act.

Domestic Violence

A person who is in a domestic relationship such as between spouses or partners, or within families, who was abused, intimidated, or whose property was intruded upon or damaged. The Complainant may apply for a protection order against the Offender.

Ex Parte

An application procedure where its outcome is based on the papers submitted by a single party to court, and the judgment is granted in favour or against the party.

Interdict

A judgment that prohibits someone from committing a certain act.

Interim Protection Order

A temporary court order prohibiting one person from committing abusive acts against another person. It is issued on the first day when the complainant applies for a protection order.

Intestate

A person dies without a Will, and the the Master of the High Court determines how the deceased’s assets, if any, are distributed.

Judgment

A court order determined by court, which is in favour or against the Plaintiff / Applicant.

Landlord’s Hypothec

A right of the Landlord to attach the Tenant’s movable property that is situated on the leased premises, when the Tenant fails to pay rent.

Lease Agreement

A written or verbal agreement between a Lessee / Tenant and a Lessor / Landlord which must be entered into before the property is leased. A Lessee / Tenant must use the property as agreed to, pay for its use, care for it, and return it to the Lessor / Landlord upon termination of the agreement.

Mediation

A process that parties in a dispute must follow to settle the matter before it goes to court. An The Mediator who is the objective person appointed, decides on its outcome.

Plaintiff / Applicant

The parties who institute a civil matter. The Plaintiff is a person in an action procedure and the Applicant is a person in the application procedure.

Rescission

An application to cancel a judgment. The rescission may be opposed or unopposed.

Sheriff

A court official instructed by the court to serve court documents or attach someone’s property. For example, a Defendant who fails to make payment in terms of a judgment may have his/her assets attached to satisfy the debt.

Subpoena

A notice for a person to appear in court at a certain date and time.

Summons

A legal document to institute civil matters. It notifies a person that a claim has been instituted against him/her, and the summons must be defended or settled.

Voetstoots

A clause in an agreement that means goods are sold as they are, with defects known or unknown to the buyer.

Warrant of Execution

A document issued by a Clerk or a Registrar of the court, authorising the Sheriff to take possession of property, for example, the Judgment Debtor’s property to satisfy the judgment.