Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa

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Supreme Court of Appeal
Established 1910 (Appellate Division)
Country South Africa
Location Bloemfontein
Coordinates 29°06′55″S 26°12′59″E / 29.1154°S 26.2163°E / -29.1154; 26.2163Coordinates: 29°06′55″S 26°12′59″E / 29.1154°S 26.2163°E / -29.1154; 26.2163
Composition method Presidential appointment on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission
Authorized by Chapter 8 of the Constitution; Superior Courts Act, 2013
Decisions are appealed to Constitutional Court (constitutional matters)
Number of positions 22
Currently Lex Mpati
Since 2008
Deputy President
Currently Kenneth Mthiyane
Since 2012
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The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) is an appellate court in South Africa; it is the highest appeal court except in constitutional matters, which are ultimately decided by the Constitutional Court. The SCA is subordinate to the Constitutional Court in all constitutional matters but exercises final jurisdiction in non-constitutional cases, and hence judges of the SCA tend to have expertise in much broader and wider fields of law such as intellectual property and property law whereas this is not a concern during the appointment of Judges to the Constitutional Court . The SCA is located in Bloemfontein, although it may hear cases elsewhere if the circumstances require it. Litigants need leave to appeal to the SCA either from the court that hears the matter or from the SCA itself on petition.


On the creation of the Union of South Africa from four British colonies in 1910, the supreme courts of the colonies became provincial divisions of the new Supreme Court of South Africa, and the Appellate Division was created as a purely appellate court superior to the provincial divisions. In 1994 the Constitutional Court was created with jurisdiction superior to the Appellate Division but only in constitutional matters. In 1997 the Appellate Division became the Supreme Court of Appeal and the provincial divisions became High Courts.

The SCA is over 100 years old and its decisions running back to its incorporation are still cited in today's cases as authority. It has been the seat of some of the country's most outstanding and notable judges including: Ogilvie Thompson JA, Innes CJ, Watermeyer CJ, Galgut JA, Wessels JA, Schreiner JA, amongst other notable judges.


The court is composed of a President, a Deputy President, and the number of ordinary Judges of Appeal determined in terms of an Act of Parliament; at present there are 22 positions on the court.[1] Cases before the court are generally heard by panels of five judges.

Judges are appointed by the President of South Africa on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. Judges of Appeal are cited in judgments with the surname of the judge followed by "JA". (The President and Deputy President are cited with a "P" and "DP" respectively, and acting judges are cited with "AJA".)

As of 2012 the Judges of Appeal are:[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About". Supreme Court of Appeal. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Judges of the Supreme Court of Appeal". Supreme Court of Appeal. 8 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012. 

External links[edit]