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202 magistrates court juridiction a drives through a

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MAGISTRATES COURT JURIDICTION:A drivesthrough a red traffic light and collides with B’s motor vehicle. Bsuffers damages in the amount of R420 000. B lives and works inJohannesburg. A lives in Pretoria. B wishes to issue two summonses against A,one for R280 000 for damages to the vehicle, and the other for R140 000 formedical expenses.(i) Will any regional magistrate’s court be competent to exercisejurisdiction?(3)The monetary jurisdiction limits for the district court and the regional court interms of section 29 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 32 of 1944 is currently R200 000and R400 000 respectively. Section 40 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act of 1944prohibits thesplitting of a “substantive claim” exceeding the jurisdiction limit of aparticular court in order to recover the claim if the split claims arise from the samecause of action. As the claim amount is R420 000, it clearly exceeds thequantitative jurisdictional limit of the regional court. Also, B may not issue twosummonses against A claiming damages and medical expenses as separate claims,because both these claim arose from one cause of action, namely the motor vehicleaccident. If B claims these amounts separately to enable the regional court to havejurisdiction, it will amount to splitting of the claims (which is prohibited).Consequently, no regional court is competent to exercise jurisdictionii) Assume on the same facts, A owes B an amount of R20 000 for servicesrendered by B to A, the amount which A admits. Will your answer in (i) differ?(2)Section 39 of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944 provides that a plaintiff maydeduct from his or her claim any amount admitted to be due by him or her to thedefendant.Section 28(1)(a) of the Magistrates’ Court Act 32 of 1944 provides that a court(district or regional) has jurisdiction over a person who resides, carries onbusiness or is employed within the court’s area of jurisdiction.Should the plaintiff, B, deduct the admitted amount of R20 000 which is owed toA from the amount claimed, the remaining amount of the claim is R400 000which falls within the quantitative jurisdictional limit of the regional magistrates’court. Finally, A lives in Pretoria, and therefore the Pretoria regional court hasjurisdiction to hear the matter in terms of section 28(1)(a) as he “resides” inPretoria. Consequently, the answer differs from (i) as a regional court (Pretoria)now has jurisdiction.Section 38 of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 32 of 1944 is not relevant in thisinstance, as the given facts specifically refer to an admitted amount owed to thedefendant (the grounds for jurisdiction in the magistrates’ courts are containedinthe various sections of the Magistrates’ Courts Act 32 of 1944. The common lawgrounds for jurisdiction are not applicable in the magistrates’ courts, and anyreference to these grounds in answers dealing with jurisdiction in themagistrates’ courts is summarily marked aswrong).

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