Court of Justice
Inventory of the Archives of the Court of Justice of the Cape Colony,1652 - 1843 (inventory 1/2)
The Court of Justice dealt with judicial matters, and contains minutes of the court, records regarding civil and criminal cases, appeal cases, estate papers, contracts, declarations, attestations and inquests. This section contains transcriptions, and in some cases images of, selected documents from this so-called 'CJ' series. Transcriptions and images will be added as they become available.
If you feel you can contribute to this project with images or transcriptions, or have any feedback, comments or suggestions, please contact one of our website managers: Corney Keller or Richard Ball.
The Court of Justice at the Cape was established in 1656. Prior to this date judicial matters were dealt with by the Council of Policy but by a resolution of 28 October 1656 the latter body decided that when it sat as a court of justice and as a military court it was to consist of the commander, five members and a secretary. In 1657 the free burghers obtained representation in the court in cases in which burghers were concerned. In 1685 provision was made for the court to consist of the governor, vice - governor and eight members, the secretary having no voice in the proceedings. Initially, two of the members were burgher councillors. Until 1734 the governor acted as president of the court. In 1786 the composition of the court was altered by having six company's servants and six burgher councillors under the presidency of a member of the Council of Policy. In 1792 the secretaries of the Council of Policy and Court of Justice were respectively appointed notaries public, from which date notaries were regularly admitted by the government to practice before the court until 1858 when they were admitted by authority of the Supreme Court. In 1797 Lord Macartney decreed that the court should consist of a president, the fiscal and five ordinary members. The title of president was changed to chief justice in 1812.