Global menu

Our global pages


Litigation during Lockdown in South Africa

  • South Africa
  • Other


The Directions published on 26 March 2020 by the Minister of Justice and Correctional Development (“the Minister”) have been withdrawn and new Directions were issued by the Minister on 30 March 2020 and published on 31 March 2020. Although the Directions are substantially the same, the most important amendments for legal practitioners are highlighted below:

  • The provision in the previous Directions providing that time limits imposed by any rule of court shall be suspended has been removed. We understand this to mean that all time periods now continue to run during the lock down period.
  • In paragraph 9.1 of the Directions, the Minister clarifies under what circumstances a legal practitioner may receive a permit from the Legal Practice Council. It states the following:
    • Those legal practitioners engaged in litigation processes during lockdown must obtain a permit from the Provincial Director of the relevant Legal Council;
    • The permit constitutes a permit to perform an essential service and may only be issued to practicing legal practitioners who are both admitted and enrolled with the council as a legal practitioner;
    • The permit may only be issued to a legal practitioner who is appearing in a matter enrolled for hearing and is classified as urgent in line with the Directions; and
    • A valid form of identification must be presented with the permit.
  • A legal practitioner who is unable to obtain the permit must be allowed to travel between his/her place of residence and the court at which he/she is to appear for an urgent/essential matter. The following documents must be provided:
    • Original/certified copy of the legal practitioner’s admission certificate;
    • Proof of identification; and
    • Confirmation from register/clerk of the court that (i) the matter is on the roll for that day, (ii) the legal practitioner is on record as the official legal representative, and (iii) the matter is urgent/essential.