The jurisdiction of the Regional Courts Amendment Act, 2008: some implications for child law and divorce jurisdiction
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The promulgation of the Jurisdiction of the Regional Courts Amendment Act, 31 of 2008 (hereafter the JRCAA) in 62 large urban magisterial districts on 9 August 2010 (Women's Day) heralds a potentially drastic transformation of the practice of civil procedure in South Africa. This article focuses on its implications for family law and, especially, child law proceedings. The various dimensions of jurisdictional reform are first explained with reference to the Children's Act 38 of 2005 and the JRCAA, whereafter their import is analysed. It will be questioned whether the provisions of the JRCAA were drafted with sufficient care, and why no reference was made to the provisions of the Children's Act 38 of 2005. The potential difficulties occasioned by the new jurisdictional rules will be described. In conclusion, comments are made about the positive and less positive aspects of the JRCAA, and suggestions for reform are provided.