Beware of fraudulent court orders

Fraudulent Court Orders
23 Feb 2017

Reliance on fake court orders is becoming more prevalent across Africa, including in South Africa, with fraudsters seeking to execute orders that have not been granted and/or properly issued by the registrar of the court, even going as far as to stamp the orders with fake (but very convincing) court stamps.

Anyone who receives a court order that is unexpected or seems suspicious should:

  • check whether the case number appears genuine (for example, in South Africa, a case number with five digits is unlikely in February, given that each case is allocated a consecutive case number and the case number should thus be much lower than a five-digit number)
  • check the order for common South African legal terms (for example, it would be unusual to use the term “tort” in a South African court order)
  • check the order for the common South African format and style (for example, in South African court orders, the relief should be succinctly drafted, without an extensive preamble or reference to case law)
  • check whether the judge reflected as granting the order actually exists

It is imperative for anyone who suspects that they have received a fraudulent court order to obtain legal advice and/or to uplift the court file to ascertain whether or not the matter exists between the parties under that case number and, if so, whether the order is recorded on the file. ENSafrica can assist you in this regard.

If the sheriff of the court is seeking to execute the order, ENSafrica can liaise with the sheriff to avoid execution and, failing that, can assist you to apply to court to stay the execution and take the necessary steps to notify the authorities, including the Deputy Judge President of the relevant court.

(This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. For more information on the topic, please contact the author/s or the relevant provider.)

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