Civil Litigation in Tribunals in South Africa: Creating a Unified Tribunal System

  • Rashri Baboolal-FrankEmail author
Part of the Ius Gentium: Comparative Perspectives on Law and Justice book series (IUSGENT, volume 70)


The global establishment of tribunals has a deep history extending over a period in excess of 2000 years. South African tribunals proclaim more than 500 years of existence. It is essential to demonstrate the beginnings of tribunals in order to grasp the context within which tribunals operate. Furthermore, the historical context elucidates the establishment and development of changes tribunals have experienced and which have resulted in their transformation up to the present day. The tribunals forming the basis of this study were established in South Africa during the twentieth century and the opening years of the twenty-first century. Currently, in the South African context, it is submitted that the separate operation of tribunals disconnects each one from the others and is therefore counter-productive in that each tribunal creates a duplication of the system, as opposed to a single system with a unified pool of resources that ensures standardisation of functions. An amalgamated tribunal system under a unified tribunal system is proposed as more suitable for users and one which encourages consistency, which in turn eradicates any faults in the system that hamper its smooth operation. A unified tribunal system fosters the development of skills, efficiency and effectiveness through one mode of operation whilst the rationalisation of tribunal rules cultivates a harmonised tribunal system. The tribunals illustrated in this study are administrative, for they exercise public power, and are a tier of the executive, providing the realisation of policy and legislation through their decisions. As a result, the civil litigation of a unified tribunal system enhances access to justice and administrative justice.


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of LawUniversity of PretoriaHatfieldSouth Africa

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