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Thread: SA Courts "not well run"

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    SA Courts "not well run"

    This will come as no surprise to anyone who has had to deal with a court appearance lately.
    More than half of the one million cases that made it last year on to the rolls of South Africa's lower courts were withdrawn or struck off, the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.

    Speaking during debate on the Justice and Constitutional Development Department budget vote in the National Assembly, DA justice spokesperson Sheila Camerer told MPs drastic action is also needed to reduce growing case backlogs.

    "Negative trends in South Africa's 2 000-odd court rooms include steadily growing outstanding court rolls -- some 210 000 cases in the lower court, as well as increasing backlogs.

    "[These include] nearly 37 000 cases in the lower courts -- that's cases over 12 months old -- and 20 000 cases in the regional courts, where most serious violent crime is dealt with," she said.

    Court sitting hours and case-finalisation rates have dropped for three years in a row, and, generally, case cycle times have increased, despite the appointment of 260 court managers.

    "Conviction rates and the rate of settlement of cases by plea bargaining are both down, according to the National Prosecuting Authority, and appeals often take five years to finalise -- far too long.

    "Perhaps the most worrying aspect of this poor performance is the large and increasing number of cases that make it to court, but then fall by the wayside.

    "Last year, some 590 000 of the million-odd cases enrolled in the lower courts, fell by the wayside because of withdrawals: a quarter of a million cases being struck off the roll; nearly 100 000 cases a non-appearance of the accused; and, some 150 000 cases where warrants of arrest were issued."

    The bottom line is the courts "are not well run", she said.
    full story from M&G here
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    Dave, I'm in Court quite often... but on the right side though representing clients in civil litigation. Upon request from a client, I had to obtain an urgent Court date for a civil trial in the Cape Town Magistrate Court after explaining to the Clerk of the Court that it was quite urgent: the first date for a formal civil trial was March 2008! I believe that the Criminal Courts are even more backed up and that it could take up to 2 years to finalize a simple shoplifting offence!

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eugene View Post
    Dave, I'm in Court quite often... but on the right side though representing clients in civil litigation.
    OK. I'll believe you. I debated whether drawing attention to court attendances was a good idea for myself

    I feel it because of the amount of time it takes to go through the legal process on collections. And every now and then I'll have a dispute of some sort too - the kind that get settled on the steps into court

    It simply seems to drag on for ever. Today I got settlement on a matter we'd handed over for collection in January 2006. Oh well. At least we got our money eventually and 95% of my collection costs. Sans interest though.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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