Access to courts enhanced

Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Bill tabled

22 February 2021 | Justice

Justice minister Yvonne Dausab tabled the Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Bill in a bid to, among others, increase the monetary jurisdictions of magistrate’s courts last week
Dausab said the amendments also seek to increase the jurisdiction of magistrates’ courts, impose restrictions on the sale of immovable property, and to deal with incidental matters.
The amendment will increase the monetary jurisdiction of the courts from N$25 000 to N$1 million in actions such as delivery or transfer of any movable or immovable properties, ejectment of the occupier of any premises or land where the right of occupation is an issue, in actions arising out of a liquid document or a mortgage bond and in actions arising out of any credit agreement.
At the moment, magistrate’s courts only have the power to deal with cases related to properties worth N$25 000 or less and all cases worth more than that are dealt with by the two high courts in Oshakati and Windhoek.
“For any other actions, the Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Bill also proposes to increase the magistrate courts’ jurisdiction from N$25 000 to N$500 000,” she told Members of Parliament.
Dausab emphasised that the increase in the monetary jurisdiction of the magistrates’ courts will enhance access to the courts by Namibian citizens in civil cases, and also has the potential of decongesting the caseload in higher courts while alleviating the cost impact on litigants in the lower courts.
According to the minister, the increase in the monetary value of goods and services, as well as the decreased value of financial currencies, has contributed to this overdue increase. “Access to justice means litigants should be able to access the court closest to them with the least cost implication.”

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