The Transvaal High Court, Pretoria, was established in 1877 and Johannesburg was only a circuit court of the High Court until after the first Anglo-Boer war when the High Court of the Witwatersrand was established in Johannesburg in the mid 1880’s. During the second Anglo-Boer War both courts ceased to function and the Supreme Court of Transvaal was re-established only after the end of the Second Anglo-Boer War in 1902 when Transvaal became a self-governing Colony of the British Empire. The Transvaal Provincial Division was established in 1910 and the first Judge President was JAJ de Villiers. The Witwatersrand Local Division was established around the same time and had concurrent jurisdiction over Johannesburg and its surrounding areas. In 2009 the name of the court changed to the South Gauteng High Courts and since 2013 the name of the court is the Gauteng Local Division of the High Court of South Africa, Johannesburg. Judge President Dunstan Mlambo took up the position of Judge President of the Gauteng High Courts in November 2012.

The Gauteng Local Division, Johannesburg has concurrent Jurisdiction with the Gauteng Division, Pretoria over the entire Gauteng province. The court building has 42 courtrooms, of which 18 are criminal courtrooms. Several sittings of the High Court criminal courts are also held in the building of the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.

The Gauteng Local Division deals with case management conferences, civil trials, motions (including interlocutory applications), summary judgments, default judgments, Rule 43 applications, admissions of legal practitioners (both attorneys and advocates), civil appeals, criminal trials, criminal appeals, reviews and petitions. The division further deals with commercial court cases and equality court cases.