Back to top

Equality Courts (Civil Courts)

Equality Courts have been established in terms of the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (also called the Equality Act) to hear cases about unfair discrimination, hate speech or harassment (but not discrimination in the workplace, which is dealt with by the Labour Courts). There are 382 Equality Courts based in magistrates’ courts. The Department of Justice website: (Click on ‘Equality Courts’) has the contact details for all the magistrates’ courts where there is an Equality Court. They will have powers to conciliate and mediate, grant interdicts, order payment of damages or order a person to make an apology.

Any person or an association, acting on its own behalf or on behalf of others, can bring a case to the Equality Court. For example, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) can bring a case on behalf of the public. You are entitled to bring a case to the Equality Court if you feel the bad treatment you or someone else received was due to someone discriminating against you on one of the following grounds:

  • Race
  • Gender
  • Sex
  • Pregnancy
  • Marital status (which includes

life partnerships as well as single persons)

  • Ethnic or social origin)
  • Colour
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Religion, conscience & belief
  • Culture
  • Language or
  • Birth

Community Courts can be described as “district courts” that deal with the same
cases as normal Magistrates’ Courts, the difference being that they only deal with petty crimes such as shoplifting cases, petty theft, petty gambling offences, petty traffic offences, drunkenness, drinking in public, riotous behaviour, failure to comply with a lawful instruction of a police officer, various train-related offences, common assault etc.

Get assistance with: