No garnishee orders without judicial oversight, rules ConCourt

The Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that emolument attachment orders (popularly known as garnishee orders) cannot be made without a presiding officer such as a magistrate or judge.

Steven Powell, Director of Forensics at ENS Africa says the orders used to be signed by the clerk of the court without any judicial scrutiny and sometimes the amounts involved would not have been condoned by a court.

By insisting on judicial oversight, the court will determine if the order is just and equitable and whether the amount is appropriate

Steven Powell, Director of Forensics at ENS Africa

According to Powell, the ConCourt has also ruled against individuals consenting to jurisdiction that is out of the area where the debt is incurred or where the debtor resides, so that people would have better access to justice.

Powell encourages employers to take responsibility and start looking at the orders that are currently on their payroll, because there are millions of impoverished people who have these orders.

The judgement protects the vulnerable, the uneducated and low income groups, who sign things without having an idea of what they are signing up for, says Powell.

Listen to the full conversation below:

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