The Environmental Case Law Index is a collection of judgments from 10 African countries on topics relating to environmental law, both substantive and procedural. The collection focuses on cases where an environmental interest interacts with governmental or private interests.
Get started on finding judgments that are relevant to you by browsing the topic list on the left of the screen. Click the arrows next to the topic names to reveal a detailed list of sub-topics. Most judgments are accompanied by a short summary written by subject-area expert postgraduate students from the University of Cape Town.
Read also JIFA's Environmental Country Reports for SADC
The matter dealt with an appeal against a decision discharging an order nisi for an order of certiorari arising out of boundary disputes.
The court considered whether the District Officer exceeded his powers, or the jurisdiction conferred upon him under s28 of the Native Courts Ordinance. It held that the powers conferred upon a District Officer under s28(1)(a) of the Native Courts Ordinance are supervisory and found that by joining other parties to the Native Court case before him, it cannot be said that the District Officer was reviewing the case which he had set out to review. Therefore, he exceeded his jurisdiction.
The court considered whether an order for certiorari was the appropriate remedy in this case. It noted that certiorari is discretionary and is granted to quash proceedings, where it is shown that the court below has acted without jurisdiction or in excess of jurisdiction. It emphasized that it was important for the court to act to prevent injustices when doing so is within its powers. Accordingly, the High Court quashed the lower court’s judgement and the appeal succeeded.