High Court Act, 1954


High Court Act, 1954

Act 20 of 1954

  • Commenced on 21 May 1954
  • [This is the version of this document at 1 December 1998.]
An Act to consolidate the law relating to the High Court of Swaziland.

1. Short title

This Act may be cited as The High Court Act, 1954.

2. Jurisdiction of the High Court of Swaziland

(1)The High Court shall be a Superior Court of record and in addition to any other jurisdiction conferred by the Constitution, this or any other law, the High Court shall within the limits of and subject to this or any other law possess and exercise all the jurisdiction, power and authority vested in the Supreme Court of South Africa.
(2)The jurisdiction vested in the High Court in relation to procedure, practice and evidence in criminal cases, shall be exercised in the manner provided by the Criminal Proce­dure and Evidence Act, No. 67/38.

3. Retiring age of judges

The retiring age of a judge shall be sixty-five years.[Amended A.36/1970]

4. Powers of review

(1)The High Court shall have full power, jurisdiction and authority to review the proceedings of all subordinate courts of justice within Swaziland, and if necessary to set aside or correct the same.
(2)Such power, jurisdiction and authority may be exercised in open court or in chambers in the discretion of the judge.

5. Powers of appeal

The High Court shall be a court of appeal from all magistrate’s courts in Swaziland with full power to—
(a)reverse and vary all judgments, decisions and orders, civil and criminal, of any such courts;
(b)order a new trial of any cause heard or decided in any such court and to direct, if necessary, that such new trial shall be heard in the High Court;
(c)send back any case heard and decided in such court with such instructions as to any further proceedings as the High Court may deem necessary; and
(d)impose such punishment (whether more or less severe than, or of a different nature from, the punishment imposed by the court below) as in the opinion of the High Court ought to have been imposed at the trial:
Provided that notwithstanding that the High Court is of the opinion that any point raised might be decided in favour of the accused, no conviction or sentence shall be set aside or altered by reason of any irregularity or defect in the record of proceedings, unless it appears to the High Court that a failure of justice has in fact resulted therefrom.

6. Court to have assistance of assessors

(1)The High Court may call to its assistance at any civil or criminal trial or appeal not more than four persons to serve as assessors, of whom—
(a)not more than two shall be administrative officers chosen by the Minister for Local Administration; and
(b)not more than two shall be chosen by the Ngwenyama from chiefs, sub-chiefs, headmen, or others suitably qualified to aid the court.
(2)An assessor shall, either in open court or otherwise, give such assistance and advice as the judge may require, but the decision shall be vested exclusively in the judge.
(3)The agreement or disagreement of an assessor with the decision of the judge shall be noted on the record.

7. Sessions of court

(1)The dates and times of sittings of the High Court, called “sessions”, shall be determined by the Chief Justice.
(2)At such sessions, of which there shall be at least two each year, all criminal busi­ness shall as far as practicable be tried and determined in priority to all other business.
(3)At any session the court shall consist of a single judge, unless the Chief Justice otherwise directs.

8. Proceedings to be in open Court and in English

(1)Save as otherwise provided in this Act, the pleading and the proceedings of the High Court shall be carried on and the sentences, decrees, judgments and orders thereof pronounced and declared in open Court and not otherwise:Provided, that at any time during a trial the Judge may order that the court be cleared or that any person or class of persons leave the court.
(2)The pleadings and proceedings of the court shall be in the English language.

9. Taxation of bills of costs

(1)All bills of costs in lawsuits in the High Court shall be taxed by the taxing master of the High Court, unless the said court otherwise determines.
(2)No bill of costs in a lawsuit shall be claimable until it has been properly taxed.
(3)A person seeking to have a bill of costs taxed shall request the person against whom it is drawn, or his lawful representative, in writing, to be present at the taxation, with mention of place and time of taxation.
(4)When the bill of costs is one between attorney and client, the said notice shall not be necessary if the client has consented to the taxation taking place in his absence.
(5)The taxing master shall be bound to demand from the person who wishes to have a bill of costs taxed proof to his satisfaction that the services for which payment is claimed in such bill have actually been rendered.[Taken from A.12/1899]

10. Rules of Court

(1)The Chief Justice may make rules of court for regulating the proceedings of the High Court, and, without derogating from the general powers hereby conferred, may in particular make rules in regard to the following matters:
(a)the pleading, practice and procedure of the court, including all matters connected with the forms to be used and the fees payable, their amount and the method and time of payment of the same;
(b)the expenses of parties and witnesses, their amount, method and time of payment of the same;
(c)the fees and costs of advocates, attorneys, notaries public and conveyancers, and the amount, taxation and recovery of the same;
(d)the obtaining of discovery orders in proceedings under the Motor Vehicle Insurance Act against the driver or owner, as defined in that Act, of a vehicle insured in terms thereof;
(e)the compulsory examination by one or more duly registered medical practitioners of any party to proceedings in which damages or compensation in respect of alleged bodily injury is claimed and whose state of health is relevant for the determination of such damages or compensation and the manner, time, place and responsibility for the cost of the examination, and the making available to the opposing party of any documentary report on the examination.[Amended P.20/1962; A.8/1968]
(2)Every such rule shall be published in the Gazette and thereupon shall take effect and have the force of law.
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History of this document

01 December 1998 this version
21 May 1954

Cited documents 0

Documents citing this one 62

Judgment 37
1. Memory Matiwane v Central Bank Of Swaziland [2000] SZSC 23 (13 December 2000) 2 citations
2. Dube And Ezulwini Municipality And Others (91 of 2016) [2018] SZSC 49 (30 November 2018) 1 citation
3. Maseko and Another v Honourable Chief Justice and Others (161 of 2014) [2014] SZHC 77 (6 April 2014) 1 citation
4. Matiwane v Industrial Court of Appeal and Another [2000] SZHC 26 (8 March 2000) 1 citation
5. Ndlandla and Another v Mabuza and Another [2004] SZHC 141 (20 August 2004) 1 citation
6. Nhlabatsi v The National Court President Shiselweni District and Another (1075 of 2009) [2009] SZHC 120 (30 March 2009) 1 citation
7. Regional Administrator, Lubombo Region And Others v Matsenjwa And Others (15 of 2014) [2016] SZSC 13 (30 June 2016) 1 citation
8. Aveng Infraset Swazi (Pty) Ltd v Dlamini (722 of 2017) [2018] SZHC 116 (5 June 2018)
9. Chirwa v Peak Timber Limited (SWMB 460 of 2008) [2010] SZCMAC 41 (1 September 2010)
10. Dlamini & Other v Manzini Senior Magistrate and Others (1526 of 2011) [2012] SZHC 76 (28 March 2012)
11. Dlamini v Editor, The Nation and Another (2534 of 2007) [2008] SZHC 16 (1 February 2008)
12. Dlamini v Siteki Senior Magistrate and Others (14 of 2012) [2013] SZHC 36 (6 March 2013)
13. Dlamini v Teaching Service Commission And Another (17 of 2005) [2006] SZIC 52 (12 April 2006)
14. Dlamini v Teaching Service Commission And Another (17 of 2005) [2006] SZICA 5 (12 April 2006)
15. Fashipe v Dlamini NO and Another, in re: Swaziland Property Market v Akinyeni (890 of 2008) [2008] SZHC 192 (8 October 2008)
16. Hadebe v Khumalo And Others (25 of 2012) [2013] SZSC 39 (31 May 2013)
17. M v M (2988 of 2006) [2006] SZHC 132 (15 September 2006)
18. Makhanya And Others v Dlamini (53 of 2016) [2017] SZSC 448 (30 November 2017)
19. Malinga v Myeni and Others (786 of 2014) [2014] SZHC 209 (24 October 2014)
20. Mamba v Rex (25 of 2012) [2012] SZSC 72 (30 November 2012)
21. Maphanga v WBHO(Swaziland) [2002] SZHC 77 (13 September 2002)
22. Maseko and Others v Prime Minister of Swaziland and Others (2180 of 2009) [2016] SZHC 180 (16 September 2016)
23. Masuku v Director of Public Prosecutions and Others [1994] SZHC 78 (26 October 1994)
24. Masuku v Masuku and Others (830 of 2010) [2011] SZHC 42 (12 January 2011)
25. Masuku v Masuku and Others, in re: Masuku v SAFA Investments (Pty) Ltd and Others (830 of 2010) [2011] SZHC 85 (8 March 2011)
26. Mncina v Mncina and Others (1473 of 2013) [2014] SZHC 407 (5 December 2014)
27. Ndlandla and Another v Mabuza and Another (545 of 2003) [2004] SZHC 112 (20 August 2004)
28. Nkwanyana v The Accountant General and Others (2942 of 2000) [2005] SZHC 56 (20 May 2005)
29. Ntulini Investments (Pty) Ltd v PK Mbisi and Associates and Others, in Re: PK Mbisi and Associates and Others v Ntulini Investments (Pty) Ltd (391 of 2009) [2009] SZHC 170 (23 June 2009)
30. R v Matimba and Another (184 of 1998) [2000] SZHC 14 (22 May 2000)
31. R v Mavuso (10 of 2007) [2008] SZHC 87 (6 March 2008)
32. R v Mndzebele (213 of 2007) [2009] SZHC 247 (25 November 2009)
33. R v Thwala (15 of 2011) [2011] SZHC 94 (29 March 2011)
34. R v Xaba (Review 43 of 1999) [1999] SZHC 39 (9 July 1999)
35. Rex v Thwala and Others [1993] SZHC 80 (1 November 1993)
36. Shiselweni Investments (Pty) Ltd v Swaziland Development And Savings Bank (50 of 1999) [2000] SZSC 25 (13 December 2000)
37. Various Creditors v Divers Debtors [1998] SZSC 10 (1 January 1998)
Gazette 23
1. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1978-05-26 number 890
2. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1978-12-15 number 922
3. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1979-12-07 number 986
4. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1979-12-28 number 991
5. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1982-12-24 number 198
6. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1986-11-07 number 481
7. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1989-10-20 number 688
8. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1990-06-01 number 726
9. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1991-01-18 number 769
10. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1991-10-25 number 826
11. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1992-12-11 number 917
12. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1993-12-03 number 997
13. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1994-10-28 number 53
14. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1995-12-22 number 128
15. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1996-04-05 number 150
16. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1996-11-29 number 208
17. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1998-07-17 number 376
18. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 1998-12-25 number 431
19. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 2002-12-13 number 890
20. Swaziland Government Gazette dated 2005-05-13 number 045
21. Swaziland Government Gazette supplement dated 1979-12-07 number 986
22. Swaziland Government Gazette supplement dated 1985-05-24 number 359
23. Swaziland Government Gazette supplement dated 1997-01-17 number 219
Documents and Guidelines 1
1. Notice: Rule 3 of Court Rules
Legislation 1
1. Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, 1938 357 citations