The common law is based on Romano-Dutch law. The judicial system consists of the Supreme Court of Appeal, the High Court and the Magistrates` Courts, as well as several special courts, including the Special Income Tax Courts, the Labour and Labour Courts of Appeal and the Land Claims Court. From 6 April 1652, the Dutch landed at the Cape of Good Hope, the Romano-Dutch legal system and its legislation and laws increasingly prevailed, until 31 May 1910, the Union of South Africa was formed as a dominion of the British Empire. Even then, and to this day, wherever English law does not exist, Roman-Dutch law forms the foundation to which South Africa looks in its quest for clarity in its law. [ref. The South African judicial system is organized according to a clear hierarchy by Chapter 8 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, in particular Article 166, and consists (from the lowest to the highest judicial authority): Until 1795, the seven united provinces of Holland were an independent sovereign state. Together with the other territories of the Netherlands, it was organized into a fairly free political entity known as the Republiek der Vereenigde Nederlanden (United Republic of the Netherlands). [12] Originally it was a rural area, but rapid development in the 15th century turned it into a commercial center. The old Germanic customary law was no longer able to settle disputes in everyday trade, and the Dutch turned to more advanced Roman law. They adopted it and changed their lives so well that the great Dutch jurist Hugo de Groot (Grotius) in the early 17th century was able to call this fusion (or combination) of Dutch and Roman principles a “new” legal system with its own content. Thus began Romano-Dutch law. It would later form the basis of today`s common law in South Africa in a form that had been extended by the so-called placaats, the legislation of the time.

[12] A new constitution partially entered into force in February 1997 and is expected to be fully implemented in 1999. The 1994 interim constitution provided for an independent judiciary, and the authorities comply with this provision in practice. There is also a Constitutional Court as the highest court for constitutional matters. It provides for due process, including the right to a fair public highway, legal assistance and the right to appeal. This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to provide a doctrinal history of South African law. He then discusses the Romano-Dutch heritage of South African private law, the three graces of South African law, legal reporting in South Africa during the colonial period (1857-1910) and from 1910, and the growth of legal literature in South Africa. In addition, the legislation has also created a number of specialized courts to deal with specialized areas of law of importance to the public and to avoid a delay in the main infrastructure of law administration. These courts exist alongside the judicial hierarchy; Their decisions are therefore subject to the same appeal and review procedure by the ordinary courts, from a certain level, depending on the specialised court concerned. Within these specialized courts, there are, to name but a few, the Court of Appeal for Competition, the Electoral Tribunal, the Land Claims Tribunal and the Labour and Labour Court of Appeal. [10] In short, it is a dynamic system that tackles the unique problems of emerging economies, ensuring equality and trying to bridge the gap between rich and poor. There is no doubt that lawyers in South Africa are juggling the constitutional challenges and almost forgotten trade issues of the crisis sweeping the EU.

As a former English colony, the legal profession follows the legal profession in the United Kingdom, as a distinction is made between barristers and solicitors. It is also called the profession of reference, which means that a client must first consult a lawyer in each case, who in turn will hire a lawyer. And finally, the Constitutional Court, which is the highest authority on constitutional matters and, since the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of South Africa, the highest court in the country, both for constitutional matters and for all other matters. This position is legally confirmed and enshrined in the Constitution by section 167 (3) (b) (ii) of the South African Constitution, which provides that the Constitutional Court “may decide any other matter if the Constitutional Court allows the appeal on the ground that the question raises a contentious question of law of general public interest which should be considered by that Court”. [8] [9] The Constitutional Court has the final authority to decide whether a question is constitutional or not; s167(3)(c)[8] of the Constitution of South Africa. South Africa has a “hybrid” or “mixed” legal system[1] formed by the interweaving of a number of different legal traditions: a civil law system inherited from the Dutch, a customary law system inherited from the British, and a customary law system inherited from indigenous Africans (often called African customary law, of which there are many variations depending on tribal origin). These traditions had a complex relationship, with English influence most clearly expressed in procedural aspects of the legal system and jurisprudential methods, and Romano-Dutch influence most clearly expressed in its substantive private law. [2] As a general rule, South Africa follows English law in matters of criminal and civil procedure, company law, constitutional law and the law of evidence; while Romano-Dutch common law is followed in South African contract law, tort law, personal law, law of things, family law, etc.