COVID-19: 21-Day Lockdown
Following the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa of a 21-day lockdown commencing at midnight on Thursday, 16 March 2020, we hereby advise as follows:
A directive of the Western Cape High Court was issued on 25 March 2020 which direct, in summary, the following:
- As per the Chief Justice’s directive dated 24 March 2020, only urgent motion applications will be issued (including matters relating to COVID 19), matters relating to bail, urgent maintenance, domestic violence related matters and cases involving children.
- The issuing of new and further processes excluding those mentioned above are suspended. Only notices of intention to defend, notices to oppose and pleas will at this stage be accepted at the court.
- No new CIVIL matters (trials, appeals, reviews, unopposed and opposed motions) will be enrolled during the lockdown period including 17 April 2020.
- Civil trials, opposed motions, appeals and reviews already enrolled must be postponed to dates after the lockdown period.
- Motion court applications enrolled for 27 March 2020, 31 March 2020, 1 April 2020, 7 April 2020, 8 April 2020, 14 to 16 April 2020 must be postponed to a date after the lockdown.
- Rule Nisi matters returnable during the lockdown (which include eviction matters) should be extended to dates after the lockdown by arranging the relevant Judge.
- Service of summons and applications (other than those mentioned above) by the Sheriff should be suspended until after the lockdown.
- Evictions and Rule 46A applications to declare property executable are suspended until after the lockdown period.
- All criminal trials, criminal appeals and criminal pre-trials will be suspended during the lockdown period.
- The High Court building will not be accessible during the lockdown period, except for the required parties for exempted matters.
A directive from the Judge President of the Labour and Labour Appeal Court was issued on 25 March 2020 which direct, in summary, the following:
- No matter will be heard or allocated from 27 March 2020 to 16 April 2020. Matters already allocated will be removed from the roll.
- No Judges will be available during lockdown nor will any member of staff be available to receive any documents.
- Urgent Court matters must be directed to the Registrar, explaining in full detail why the matter is considered to be so urgent that it must be considered during the lockdown. The Registrar will then contact the Judge on duty who will inform the registrar whether or not s/he will consider the matter and if so, it will be done telephonically with the other side being duly informed by the applicant where necessary.
- The Deeds Office will close on 26 March 2020 until further notice.
Companies and Intellectual Property Commission:
- The public will not be able to transact with CIPC from 24 March 2020. Limited electronic services will resume on 1 April 2020, with all services resuming after the lockdown.
In accordance with the media statement by Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Mr Ronald Lamola, 25 March 2020:
- Matters will be restricted to urgent matters only.
- Masters services would include issues such as letters of authority in relation to urgent financial need e.g. burials, applications for maintenance out of guardian’s funds, international child abduction cases, urgent applications, children’s court matters – e.g. the removal of children in need of care and protection and placement of children in child and youth care centres – and applications for interim domestic violence protection orders and applications for protection against harassment.
- Our physical office will close at 16h00 on 26 March 2020.
- All our directors, professional staff and support staff will continue to render services remotely and contactable on their cell phones or via email.
- We are currently waiting on the diversion of the office switchboard. In the event that same cannot be diverted timeously and you do not have the cell phone number of the relevant attorney / staff member, kindly send him/her an email, whereafter the out-of-office response will provide you with the relevant person’s cell phone number.
- Emails and additional platforms like Webex will be used for continued communication.
We endeavor to ensure as little further disruption as possible during the following three weeks.
*Disclaimer: This advisory should not be interpreted as legal advice.
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