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The Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts which deal with less serious criminal and civil cases. They are divided into Regional Courts and District Courts. In Criminal Courts the state prosecutes people for breaking the law. Criminal Courts can be divided into two groups:

  • Regional Magistrates’ Courts
  • Ordinary Magistrates’ Courts (also called District Courts) {Play}

The Specialised Courts are:

  • Competition Appeal Court
  • Electoral Court
  • Land Claims Court
  • Labour and Labour Appeal Court {Play}

The Judicial authority of the Republic of South Africa is vested in the courts. These provisions are contained in Section 165 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996.

The courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, which they must apply impartially and without fear, favour or prejudice.

No person or organ of state may interfere with the functioning of the courts. {Play}