Lodge a complaint with the Commission

Any conduct by a magistrate that is alleged to be improper may be reported to the Judicial Head of the Court wherein the magistrate concerned presides.

A complaint against a magistrate must be reported by means of a written declaration under oath or affirmation, specifying -

  • the nature of the matter;
  • the grounds on which an investigation is viewed necessary;
  • the names of the magistrate, other persons involved and of any witnesses;
  • the date and time of the incident(s), and
  • all other relevant information known to the complainant.

Please note that in terms of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act, No. 108 of 1996, the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law. The Magistrate’s Commission is not empowered to interfere with judicial decisions made by judicial officers and is in terms of Section 165(3) of the Constitution prohibited from interfering with the functioning of the Courts. In so far as the particular magistrate who acted within his/her judicial capacity, his/her judgments can only be contested within the framework of the court system.

If you are of the view that the magistrate concerned has misdirected him/herself in the process, the appropriate course would be to take the matter on Review or Appeal to the relevant High Court. In this regard it is suggested that you approach an attorney of your choice who, with all the facts at his disposal, will be in the best position to advise and/or assist you where possible. If you cannot afford the services of an attorney, you are at liberty to approach the Legal Aid Officer at your nearest Magistrate’s Court.

Should you be of the view that the Magistrate is biased and/or that you will not have a fair trial you are at liberty to request the presiding officer at the next court proceedings to recuse herself.

Complaints on the conduct of the Prosecutors should be lodged with the Chief Prosecutor for the area of the respective court.
Complaints on the conduct of the Clerks/Administration should be lodged with the Court Manager at that office for his/her attention.
Complaints on the conduct of the Court Manager should be lodged with the Area Court Manager or Director, Court Operations for his/her attention.

You can obtain the details of the relevant officials at the respective court.

If the complainant is of the view that his/her concerns have not been properly or adequately addressed by the Judicial Head of Court, the complainant may direct his/her complaint to:   

Secretary of the Magistrates Commission [as from Sep 2017]: 
Mr Mahomed Dawood
5th Floor, Center Walk Building (West Tower), c/o Thabo Sehume & Pretorius Streets, PRETORIA
P O Box 9096, PRETORIA, 0001
Email: MaDawood@justice.gov.za
Tel: +27 12 325 3951
Fax: +27 12 325 3957/ +27 12 326 0094