How to apply for the appointment of a ‘particular suit’ sheriff (ad hoc sheriff)

Section 5(1A)(b) of the Sheriffs Act 90/1986 provides for the appointment of a ‘particular suit’ sheriff in limited instances. Such a sheriff is appointed for a single matter and not for a region or for a particular firm of attorneys or member of the public.

The limited circumstances in which a ‘particular suit’ sheriff may be appointed, include;

  • If there is a conflict of interest with the appointed sheriff and a party to the particular suit; or
  • Where the Minister deems it necessary as it is in the interest of the maintenance of effective and reliable service to the courts and the public.

Particular suit sheriffs are appointed by the Court Manager/Registrar of the court in the jurisdiction where the service is required.

The appointment is made by the Court Manager of the Magistrate’s Court or the Registrar of the High Court.

The following process is required to be followed:

  • Written request by the party to the suit or his/her legal representative to be sent to the Court Manager in the relevant jurisdiction;
  • Cite reasons and show cause;
  • State case number and parties involved.

Particular suit sheriffs will not be appointed in instances where there is a fee dispute between the sheriff and the attorney/client, or in instances where an unresolved dispute between the sheriff and the attorney/client exists.

The South African Board for Sheriff cannot apply for the appointment of a particular suit sheriff on behalf of any party.

Circular on Adhoc Appointments