Earlier this week, the Constitutional Court urged courts to adhere to the Biowatch judgement that was made in 2009.
Essentially, the ruling was passed to support people who were taking state bodies to court by protecting them from paying exorbitant legal costs. For example, if an accuser’s case against the state is unsuccessful, he/she will not be ordered to pay the state’s legal costs.
On Tuesday‚ the court set aside the costs orders made against a student who lost an admission battle with the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The ConCourt ruled that the High Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal should not have burdened the student with paying the state’s legal costs.
“Although Biowatch was decided eight years ago‚ it seems that the other courts are yet to embrace its principle. This is apparent from the growing number of matters that come before this court‚ in which the issue of not applying Biowatch is raised. This is unfortunate‚” Justice Chris Jafta said in his judgement.
Simply put, it means that unsuccessful litigants should not be financially crippled by exercising their right to take state bodies to court. That said, Justice Jafta insisted that doesn’t meant that people have free rein to institute flippant legal actions against the state.
But, at the end of the day, it is refreshing to see that the ConCourt continues to fight to protect the legal rights of all South Africans. We at LAW FOR ALL has strived to make the law affordable and accessible for all since 1993.