How to find a divorce lawyer in Cape Town, South Africa

Importance of Indexing and Paginating

In terms of the court rules of the High Court, before a divorce matter is heard, the court file must be "indexed and paginated". The Regional Court in Cape Town has now become a lot stricter with this too, and the magistrates are insisting that they will not hear matters unless the file is properly indexed and paginated.

What this process involves, is basically getting the court file in order, and properly bound, so that before the case, the Magistrate or Judge can read the file like it is a book. This as opposed to a file that is in no particular order.

The attorney must mark in pencil a page number on the top right hand corner of each page. The attorney must then type out an "index", which is similar to an index of a book, which would set out what is in each chapter of the book, for example.

The "index" would sometimes, for example look something like this:


1. Statistics Form p 1
2. Summons and Particulars of Claim pp 2 – 13
3. Notice of Intention to Defend pp 14 – 15
4. Demand For Plea pp 16 – 17
5. Defendant's Plea and Counterclaim pp 18 – 22
6. Plaintiff's Plea to Defendant's Counterclaim pp 23 – 25"

The presiding official can then look at the Index and he/she will know what page to go to if he/she wants to look at a particular pleading. The attorney would then also be under a duty to bind the whole file together so that there are no loose pages in the file.

While indexing and paginating the court file, the attorney should also index and paginate his/her own file properly. This would ensure that at the trial of the matter your own file is also in order and you are well prepared.

The court file only contains the court pleadings e.g. the Summons and Particulars of Claim and Counterclaim, for example. It does not contain other forms of correspondence e.g. letters between the two attorneys involved in the case.

The Regional Court in Cape Town for divorces is at 90 Plein Street. It used to be known as the "Southern Divorce Court". The old Southern Divorce Court was not that strict when it came to indexing and paginating of the court file.

The new Regional Court is adopting a far stricter approach, similar to that of the High Court, and insisting that court files are in order before a matter is ripe for hearing, and rightfully so.

I am very much in favour of the indexing and paginating of a court file. Our legal system is very much based on paperwork. If there is no order in a file there is no way a matter can be heard.

I am glad the Regional Court is insisting now on the indexing and paginating of the court file. If I were a presiding official I would insist on it too. It is the attorneys' duty to ensure that the court file is in order, and not the duty of the court.

Related Articles

Combined summons

Divorce consent papers

Particulars of claim

Final divorce order


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