Legal Advice

Appeal and Review in South African Litigation

If your business is engaged in litigation, you will likely want to challenge a Court’s decision at some point. Depending on the nature of your challenge, you will have to decide between review and appeal.

A decision is appealed when you want to challenge a Court’s decision on the basis that it is incorrect in fact or law. In other words, the judge or magistrate reached their decision based on incorrect law or based on false or incorrect facts.

To appeal a decision, you will need to make an application for leave to appeal. There must be reasonable prospects that the appeal will succeed, and the matter must be of substantial importance to the parties.

An appeal is heard by a higher Court: A magistrate’s decision is generally referred to the High Court, while a High Court decision is referred to a full bench (3 judges) of the High Court or the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Constitutional Court can, in very specific circumstances, hear an appeal.

A decision is submitted for review to a higher court when the procedure in reaching the decision was incorrect or invalid. Examples of grounds for review include bias or corruption by the judge, gross irregularity of proceedings, a lack of jurisdiction, or admission of inadmissible evidence.

Not every decision can be appealed or reviewed. Whether the decision can be appealed or reviewed I determined by the Uniform Rules of Court and other legislation governing our court procedure.

Consult with your attorney to advise you on next steps and to prepare the necessary documentation if you intend to appeal or review a court’s decision.