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13 Jan 2023
BY Aslam Moosajee AND Hendrik Hugo

Power cuts cause delays in the delivery of justice

The effects load-shedding are dealing a blow to the delivery of justice. The Johannesburg High Court currently has no reliable generator to allow the work of the High Court to continue during prolonged outages. As a result, the Deputy Judge President of the High Court issued a directive on 13 January 2023, which takes effect immediately. From now on, the default mode for hearings of all matters is by video link. The Presiding Judge, however, retains the discretion to vary this mode, in consultation with the parties and where appropriate. 

In the unopposed courts, where multiple matters are heard, if the Presiding Judge decided to vary the hearing to be a physical hearing, such Presiding Judge shall issue an ad hoc directive before such a matter is to be heard.

For trial matters, the Deputy Judge President has encouraged parties to offer a suitable alternative venue to the satisfaction of the Presiding Judge. 

The new directive will continue until the Office of the Chief Justice and the Department of Public Works provides appropriate back-up facilities to cater for load-shedding. Currently, there is no indication of when that might be. 

The Deputy Judge President offered an apology to the litigating public for being unable to offer adequate service during load-shedding. Litigating parties will welcome this directive, which is a proactive step to ensure that the dispensing of justice is not delayed.

Aslam Moosajee

Executive | Dispute Resolution

Hendrik Hugo

Senior Associate | Dispute Resolution