New court directives will see criminal cases dealt with during lockdown

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
Image: Sebabatso Mosamo/Sunday Times

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng on Saturday issued new directives for the management of courts during the national state of disaster, which will see more court proceedings being undertaken during this period.

The directives repealed the ones he issued on April 17.

The new directives state that criminal trials already set down for hearing during the national state of disaster shall be dealt with and disposed of in a manner determined by the head of court.

This directives issued on April 17 had stated that criminal trials already set down for hearing during the lockdown period must be brought forward by arrangement with all the relevant parties, and postponed to dates beyond the lockdown period.

Another change comes in terms of judicial flow management, which entails the assignment and allocation of cases to a judicial officer at the earliest opportunity.

The judicial officers then become responsible to manage the flow of that case in an efficient and effective manner to ensure its speedy finalisation.

The repealed directives stated that there shall be no judicial case flow management conferences held before a judicial officer in chambers or civil roll call hearings convened during the lockdown period.

The new directives state that judicial case flow management and civil roll call hearings during the period of the national disaster shall be dealt with in a manner to be determined by the head of court.

“To that end, the head of court may, where appropriate, communicate electronically with the parties and issue such directives as may be necessary to ensure the trial readiness of any of the matters.”

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