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Judge explains Facebook summons

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Durban High Court judge who made a landmark ruling last week allowing a court summons to be served via Facebook, says the courts have to understand social media platforms.

Judge Esther Steyn’s ruling has been hailed as progressive and “in keeping with the times”.

It pertains to a matter where Cecil Schickerling of CMC Woodworking Machine (Pty) Ltd is suing Pieter Odendaal for R126 700 over the sale of a woodworking machine.

“Changes in communication technology have increased exponentially; therefore it is not unreasonable to expect the law to recognise such changes and accommodate it,” said Steyn in a written explanation.

“The present application, in my view, would not have been possible had it not been for a recent amendment to the uniform rules of a court which provides for service by way of electronic mail, registered post and fax,” said the judge.

Steyn said that before granting the application to use Facebook as a medium to serve a legal notice

she studied the workings of Facebook and surmised that it could be used as an effective tracing tool and it could relay information to individuals concerned.

Steyn was also satisfied that there could be no claims of mistaken identity as the photos lodged in the defendant’s photo album are clear and he’s identifiable, and his privacy has not been compromised having studied how messages are sent.

Apparently, after preliminary legal processes in the Schickerling versus Odendaal matter started during 2006, it was set down as awaiting trial in May 2008. But in April 2010 the defendant’s attorney’s served notice of their withdrawal from the matter.

Since then, every attempt by the sheriff of the court and tracing agents to serve the notice on Odendaal proved futile. As a last resort, Schickerling’s attorney, Ian King, tracked Odendaal on Facebook and posted the notice

The Law Society of SA gave Steyn’s ruling the thumbs-up. The society’s co-chairman Krish Govender said: “The judgment by Steyn must be seen as progressive and in keeping with the times we live in, particularly if it promotes access to justice.”

If Odendaal checks his Facebook messages he will learn that the trial date has been set down for August 29 and a pre-trial conference will be held on August 14.

And, as a precautionary measure Schickerling’s legal team will also publicise the notices in the August 13 edition of The Mercury. - INL


The Role of the Sheriff's Profession in Promoting Access to Justice

Monday, August 13, 2012

Minister Speech

Friday, August 10, 2012

minister speech minister speech (130 KB)

The 5th World Day of the Judicial Officer/Sheriff on 7 June 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012
The 5th World Day of the Judicial Officer/Sheriff on 7 June 2012 will be organised by the International Union of Judicial Officers (UIHJ).

The theme of this day is ‘The Sheriff and the Citizen’.

The sheriffs’ goal should be to successfully carry out enforcement while respecting the dignity of the litigant and the balance between the rights of all.

They must ensure the effectiveness of the rights of citizens. Beyond formal guarantees to the citizens recognized by the state, sheriffs must make the rights of these citizens become real and effective.

They certainly use the means at their disposal by the law, but beyond this, they also consider the human dimension of their profession: they have to convince without force, they have to understand without admitting.

They have a duty of impartiality and neutrality, and should exercise restraint. They should retain a sense of measure, to achieve the required result while limiting and adapting those means of achievement to the situation.

A rule of caution stems from the imperative of moderation as they are fully liable for their actions. Enforcement measures are delicate indeed. On this occasion, the sheriff must show unwavering professionalism but also tact and delicacy.

That's the everyday ethics of the judicial officer. Sheriffs’ rules of conduct towards citizens revolve around notions such as counsel, carefulness and independence.

Counsel: how to carry out the most appropriate procedure.

Carefulness: how to give the most appropriate procedure its dimension and effective guarantee.

Independence: the magistrate or judge grants the order and the sheriff ensures its concrete expression by carrying out the enforcement of the decision.

The topic of Maintenance remains high as a priority in our country. We appeal to you to serve these documents free of charge from 4 to 8 June 2012. If you can, join forces with a neighbouring Sheriff and sponsor a soup kitchen on the 7th! The day provides an opportunity to show the public all the activities carried out by the Sheriff in family law. The role of the Sheriff when he/she recovers a maintenance obligation should be emphasized: he allows an abandoned family to recover the means necessary for its subsistence and social survival.

We will be most grateful to you if you participate and use your imagination to promote your office and the profession during the said week. Please record your involvement by taking photographs and writing a short report, we would like to place this on our website and in the next newsletter.

WE URGE YOU TO PARTICIPATE AS MOST SHERIFFS DID LAST YEAR!

A NEW TERM BEGINS

Friday, August 10, 2012

SA Board for Sheriffs

On 15 March 2012 Minister Jeff Radebe and Deputy Minister Andries Nel called the new Boardmembers together for the first time in Cape Town. The services of five of the previous Boardmembers were retained to ensure continuity during the appointment process.

Advert: Vacant Sheriff's Offices - September, 2011

Friday, August 10, 2012

Advert: Vacant Sheriff's Offices - September, 2011 Advert: Vacant Sheriff's Offices - September, 2011 (252 KB)

Erratum

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Erratum Erratum (82 KB)

PDM Court Cases Minister of Justice

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

pdm court cases minister of justice pdm court cases minister of justice (102 KB)

Opening of New Palm Ridge Magistrates Court

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

We were invited by the DoJCD to attend and participate in an Imbizo held in Palm Ridge, Alberton, Gauteng to celebrate the opening of the new Palm Ridge Magistrates Court on 7 August 2012.

We arrived in Palm Ridge at 7:30 am on Tuesday morning 7 August 2012 where we were met by Mr Victor Phala the organizer of exhibitions for the event. He informed us that we would setup our display table in the community hall adjacent to the new Palm Ridge Magistrate Court. The new Court was a massive 4 storey building which was like no other court built in its history.

Other stakeholders such as Correctional Services, the National Prosecuting Authority, Child & Maintenance Services, Police services and the Masters were also in attendance. They had also setup tables displaying their banners, pamphlets and information leaflets.

We were engaged by the public who visited our tables and asked questions and information in respect of the role of the sheriff and what their rights are. They found it very enlightening and for any questions that we could not answer we referred them to the relevant stakeholders who could assist.

The Minister of Justice and his entourage of dignitaries arrived at the community hall adjacent to the Palm Ridge Court at 12:30 am, after they had visited and officially opened the new Magistrates court.

By this time the Hall was filled with members of the community, the elderly and the youth.

The Speeches were delivered by the guest speakers in the Community Hall.

The speakers were:

The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development

Also in attendance was the Deputy Director General of Court Services, Advocate S Jiyane. Advocate JB Skosana, Gauteng Regional

Head, Emily Dhlamini, Chairperson of the Legal Aid Board and many other dignitaries.

After the speeches the floor was opened to the public to ask questions to the Minister and the heads of departments who were in

attendance. The public was very pleased to be afforded this opportunity to have their issues addressed directly.

The Imbizo was a great success and after all the formalities were dispensed with at 2:30pm the public was served lunch.

Women's Day Imbiza - Atlantis

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The South African Board for Sheriffs (SABFS) was invited to attend the Women’s Day Atlantis Service Delivery Imbizo in Atlantis hosted by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.

The purpose of the Imbizo emanated from a number of complaints relating to the community being fed up with drug addiction and gangsterism in their community, why are alleged criminals released on bail? How does bail work? Problems experienced in the serving of Domestic violence protection orders.

The Government was there to commit in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system services rendered to victims of crime, to implements social crime prevention programs, improve on investigation, strengthening the management of bail process, to rid of corrupt government officials, improve on services rendered by courts and operationalize transformed community safety forums in Atlantis.

The panel members were Snr Magistrate Mr Van Rooyen, Snr Prosecutor, Maintenance Officer, and SAPS. The main speaker was Mr Hishaam Mohamed Regional Head of Western Cape.

The launch was very informative and was received well by the community and they had an opportunity to voice out their frustration and also assist the government on how to better their services.

We had setup a table where we handed out our sheriff’s information.

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