Courts and Police > Structure of the Courts
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Structure of the Courts

The courts are used to make people obey the law. They do this by deciding disputes brought to them.

The ordinary courts are:

  • Constitutional Court
  • Supreme Court of Appeal
  • High Courts
    • High Courts in different provinces
    • local divisions, for example Witwatersrand Local Division
  • Magistrates’ Courts
    • Regional Magistrates’ Courts
    • Ordinary Magistrates’ Courts
  • Small Claims Courts
  • Community Courts and Courts of Chiefs and Headmen

Courts that deal with special kinds of cases:

  • Labour Appeal Court: deals with appeals from the Labour Court
  • Labour Court: deals with disputes under the Labour Relations Act
  • Land Claims Court: deals with land claims and land tenure issues
  • Family Courts: deal with family matters, like divorce (fall under Regional Courts)
  • Maintenance Courts
  • Juvenile Courts
  • Children’s Courts
  • Tax Courts
  • Water Tribunal
  • Equality Courts
  • Chiefs and Headmen’s Courts: deal with customary law matters; anyone dissatisfied with the decision in a Chief’s or Headman’s Court can take their matter to the ordinary courts.

Statutory Bodies

These are bodies that have the authority to assist in resolving legal disputes.

These bodies are established in terms of legislation and get their authority from legislation. It is usually cheaper to use these bodies than the courts and disputes are resolved much faster.

  • CCMA established in terms of Labour Relations Act
  • Housing Rental Tribunal established in terms of Housing Rental Act
  • Pension Funds Adjudicator established in terms of the Pension Funds Act
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