THE Constitutional Court has handed down a landmark judgment (University of Stellenbosch Legal Aid Clinic and Others v Minister of Correctional Services and Others, CCT 127/15) delivered by Judge Raymond Zondo, relating to the judicial management of emolument attachment orders (EAO). These are called garnishee orders in ordinary legal parlance. An EAO is a court order that compels a debtor’s employer to pay his or her debt from their salary.The fundamental change that has been ushered in by the Constitutional Court is that a garnishee order involving compulsory deductions from an employee’s salary can no longer be made by a mere clerk of the court, but must be taken by a magistrate. Also of great significance is that the magistrate is mandated in this regard to apply two tests:Firstly, whether it would be just and equitable to grant the EAO; and secondly, whether the debtor is able to afford it.In this judgment the Constitutional Court upheld seven of the eight rulings made by Judge...

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