A call for specialised foreclosure courts and a separate foreclosure roll — An analysis of South African Human Rights Commission v Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd (CC)
Author: Ciresh Singh
Affiliations: Associate Professor, University of South Africa
Source: South African Law Journal, Volume 140 Issue 3, p. 481-494
In South African Human Rights Commission v Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd 2023 (3) SA 36 (CC), the Constitutional Court held that a bank is not obliged to take a foreclosure matter to the magistrate’s court, even if the magistrate’s court has jurisdiction over the matter. The apex court confirmed that a court is not entitled to decline to hear a matter properly brought before it because another court has concurrent jurisdiction. Before this decision, the Gauteng and Eastern Cape Divisions of the High Court both found that the High Court was entitled to decline to hear a matter if the matter fell within the jurisdiction of a magistrate’s court. These decisions were taken on appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which upheld the appeal and found that the High Court has no power to refuse to hear a matter falling within its jurisdiction on the ground that another court has concurrent jurisdiction. The Constitutional Court has now confirmed the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal, finding that complex matters such as foreclosure applications deserve more judicial scrutiny, and ought to be heard by the High Court.