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|Supreme Court of Appeal|
of South Africa
Building of the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein
|Established||1910 (Appellate Division)|
|Composition method||Presidential appointment on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission|
|Authorized by||Chapter 8 of the Constitution; Superior Courts Act, 2013|
|Decisions are appealed to||Constitutional Court|
|No. of positions||22|
|Since||26 May 2017|
|Acting Deputy President|
|Since||26 May 2017|
|This article is part of a series on the|
politics and government of
On the creation of the Union of South Africa from four British colonies in 1910, the supreme courts of the colonies became provincial divisions of the new Supreme Court of South Africa, and the Appellate Division was created as a purely appellate court superior to the provincial divisions. It was the seat of some of the country's most outstanding judges including Innes CJ, Watermeyer CJ, Galgut JA, Wessels CJ and Schreiner JA.
In 1994 the Constitutional Court of South Africa was created with jurisdiction superior to the Appellate Division, but it could hear only in constitutional matters. The Appellate Division therefore remained the highest court in non-constitutional matters. In 1997 the Appellate Division became the Supreme Court of Appeal and was given constitutional jurisdiction, though the system of two apex courts remained: the Constitutional Court was the country's highest court in constitutional matters, but the SCA was the highest court in non-constitutional matters. However, the Constitutional Court took a broad reading of its jurisdiction, and in August 2013 the position was regularised by an amendment to the South African Constitution which gave the Constitutional Court general jurisdiction.
The court is composed of a President, a Deputy President, and the number of ordinary Judges of Appeal determined in terms of an Act of Parliament; at present there are 22 positions on the court. Cases before the court are generally heard by panels of five judges.
Judges are appointed by the President of South Africa on the advice of the Judicial Service Commission. Judges of Appeal are cited in judgments with the surname of the judge followed by "JA". (The President and Deputy President are cited with a "P" and "DP" respectively, and acting judges are cited with "AJA".)