Access to Court Restricted Due to Corona Virus
The Judge President has set down urgent directives restricting access to the High Courts in Gauteng.
We are placing the directives as set out by the Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court below for public interest:
URGENT DIRECTIVE IN RESPECT OF RESTRICTING ACCESS TO COURT IN LIGHT OF COVID 19
1. The following directives will apply with immediate effect until the commencement of Term 2 (14 April 2020).
2. Save for Urgent Court matters, Judges and staff will deal only with matters that are already enrolled for hearing; provided that parties may agree to postpone matters (including unopposed matters) that have been enrolled during this period. In such event, parties must alert the relevant Judge’s Secretary of any agreed postponement as a matter of urgency.
3. Parties in matters that have been postponement under this Directive may approach the Judge President for an expedited date for a new hearing.
4. No practitioner/messenger/member of the public may enter the Court building for purposes of issuing new process.
5. In respect of matters that have already been initiated by way of a paper file (rather than Caselines), practitioners must correspond with the Registrar’s Office by email for directions as to the filing of all further notices, pleadings, heads of argument etc.
6. Enrolment of new matters may only be done via Caselines.
7. No member of the public is permitted to enter the Court building, or to attend any hearings, whether Civil or Criminal, as a spectator. Only practitioners, witnesses and accused persons are permitted to attend.
8. Counsel are advised not to attend Judges’ chambers for purposes of introductions. All introductions are suspended. Judges will not shake hands with any practitioners.
9. Judges who are not scheduled for sittings in Court are required to work from home.
10. When a Judge is working from home, s/he should make a determination, based on the nature of the work to be done, whether his/her Secretary may also work from home. In that event, the Judge President must be advised accordingly, and Judges’ Secretaries must remain available and accessible to carry out whatever duties may be required from home, including monitoring and responding to emails, maintaining telephone contact with practitioners etc.
11. Individual case managements should be conducted by teleconference/Skype per arrangement between the parties and the appointed Judge.
12. As regards general Court staff, all Section Heads must determine the minimum number of staff (rotationally or otherwise) who must continue to report for work to ensure that the general work of the Court is not compromised.