If a party is dissatisfied with a decision of a Magistrate in a minor civil action, they can apply to the District Court for a review of the decision by a Judge. The application for review must be lodged within 21 days of the Magistrate's decision.
Section 279A of The District Court Civil Rules 2006 (SA)give detailed information about presentation of a case for review.
Unless the Court agrees, lawyers are not permitted to represent the parties. However, lawyers can help with the preparation of the written case, which may be useful to help identify and narrow down issues.
In McLeod v Mitchell  SADC 129, the Court described the “unique nature” of a review, and the requirement of the Court to act “act according to equity, good conscience and the substantial merits of the case without regard to technicalities and legal forms”.
Upon review, the District Court may affirm the original decision, or rescind it and substitute its own decision. If the review arises from a default judgment or summary judgment, the matter can be remitted back to the Magistrates Court for hearing or further hearing [see Magistrates Court Act 1991 (SA) s 38(7)(d)].
Ordinarily there is no further right of appeal from the decision of the District Court; the decision is final. In very limited circumstances, a person may ask for a judicial review of the District Court decision, but legal advice should be obtained first.
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