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The Courts of Law Amendment Bill:

What are the Amendments and how do they impact on matters constituted prior to the commencement of this Act?

On the 31st July 2017, the President of the Republic of South Africa signed into law the “Courts of Law Amendment Act 7 of 2017” which changed certain sections of the Magistrates Court Act 1944.

Debt Collection and Legal Assistance - Attorneys Cape Town

How do these amendments affect you?

Section 36

Section 36 discusses “Rescission of Judgements”. Once judgment has been granted against a consumer, it can be difficult to have the judgment rescinded later.

Section 36 helps consumers who, after paying off the debt, cannot have the judgment rescinded as the creditor (credit provider) refuses to agree to it in writing. The amendment now allows for an application to be brought to court to assist them.

The application:

  • Must be made in terms of the act and must be accompanied by proof of payment of the judgement debt, interest and costs.
  • Must be proved to have been served on the judgement creditor at least 10 days before the hearing of the application.
  • May also be heard by the Magistrate in their office.

Section 45

This section limits the ability of parties to consent to a specific court’s jurisdiction in certain instances. This means parties cannot agree to a court they would like to appear in, but instead, jurisdiction will be decided by where the parties live or work. Any such agreement to appear in a specific court is of no force and effect.

This applies to the following matters:

  • Admissions of liability and undertakings to pay debts in instalments or otherwise.
  • Consents to judgement and an order for payments of judgement debts in instalments.
  • Offer by judgement debtor after judgement.
  • Emolument Attachment (“Garnishee”) Orders.

Section 57

This amended section discusses what should happen when a consumer agrees to pay off his/her debts in instalments.

Any offer of this nature should disclose the full details of the consumer, including his/her monthly or weekly income and expenditure (how much they earn and how much they spend), as well as proof of such income and expenditure and the instalment agreement. The consumer would then have to advise the court whether there are any other court orders or agreements with other creditors for payment of a debt and costs in instalments.

Section 65

In terms of the new Act, the clerk of the court may now make an order that the debtor pay off his debt in instalments if judgement has already been made against the consumer.

An “Emolument Attachment Order” is an order that is made by the court, ordering the debtor’s employer to pay a portion of the debtor’s salary directly to the creditor to pay off a debt.

These Emolument Attachment Orders may not exceed 25% of the debtor’s gross salary.

Bailey Haynes – Debt Collections Cape Town

Don’t let your debt negatively impact the rest of your life. Contact us, for legal assistance. Our team of experienced attorneys in Cape Town can help you.

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