1. Where is the High Court situated?
The High Court of the Free State is situated at the corner of Fountain and President Brand streets, Bloemfontein and can be contacted on 051 430 7041.
2. Which matters can be adjudicated on by the High Court?
The High Court has unlimited inherent jurisdiction and can adjudicate on any matter, unless specifically excluded from its jurisdiction such as Constitutional matters. The High Court has jurisdiction, inter alia, in respect of any matter where the claim amount exceeds R 300,000.00 as well as matters involving a person’s status.
The High Court is a court of first instance, which means that a matter can be instituted in the High Court, but the High Court also operates as a court of appeal for the Magistrate’s Court within its area of jurisdiction. All the High Courts in South Africa also operate as courts of appeal in respect of decisions made by a single judge of the High Court. When a decision made by a single High Court judge is appealed, it will either go to a full bench of the same High Court or to the Supreme Court of Appeal.
3. Who may represent me at the High Court?
You may represent yourself in a High Court case. You may also choose to appoint an attorney with right of appearance in the High Court or an advocate to assist you with your case.
4. Who are all the key role players in the High Court division?
- The Registrar of the High Court – The functions of a registrar are mainly administrative. The registrar also has other duties, e.g. issuing civil process (summonses, warrants, subpoenas). The registrar also acts as the taxing-master for that particular High Court division.
- The Family Advocate – The Family Advocate assists the parties (mainly in divorce matters) to reach an agreement on disputed issues, being custody, access and guardianship of children. The Family Advocate evaluates the parties’ circumstances in light of the best interests of the child and makes a recommendation to the Court.
- The Master of the High Court – The Master assists the High Court with the following matters:
- Deceased Estates;
- Liquidations (Insolvent Estates);
- Registration of Trusts;
- Tutors and Curators; and
- Administration of the Guardian’s Fund.