What is a Notice of Motion or Court Summons?

A Notice of Motion or Court Summons is a serious legal document that requires prompt and appropriate action. If you have received one, it is important to read the document carefully, seek legal advice, prepare your defense, and attend court as required. By taking these steps, you can protect your rights and ensure that you have the best possible chance of a favorable outcome.

Receiving a Notice of Motion is an intimidating experience for any individual. Unlike a notice to vacate, which is a legal document requiring a tenant to vacate their current residence within a specified period, a Notice of Motion is a formal notification issued by the court that alerts the tenant to a legal dispute or claim filed against them, indicating that they must appear in court on a specified date to explain their side. Ignoring or failing to respond appropriately to the notice can result in unwanted legal implications, including default judgments or even financial penalties in some cases. For this reason, it is essential to understand the legal implications of the notice and take the necessary steps to respond appropriately.

What does the Notice of motion document mean?

A Notice of Motion  is a legal document that starts a lawsuit against you. It comes from a court and is usually given to you by a court sheriff. The document will explain what the lawsuit is about and the date and time you need to appear in court to tell your side of the story. 

Is it possible to challenge a Notion of Motion without attending court, or must I attend court to dispute it?

In South Africa, it is not possible to challenge a Notice of Motion without attending court. If you have received a Notice of Motion, it is important that you attend court on the specified date to defend yourself.

How should I respond to a Notion of Motion or Court Summons?

If you're not sure what to do next, you can seek legal advice from a lawyer or access free legal service. They can help you understand your legal options and represent you in court if necessary. There are also free legal resources available if you can't afford a lawyer.

Am I able to represent myself in court? 

Yes, in South Africa, you are allowed to represent yourself in court but it is important to note that legal proceedings can be time consuming, complex and challenging, and that the other side may have legal representation, this means that not having an attorney to represent you could put you at a disadvantage.

Why is it important to never miss court?

If you fail to attend court, the judge may decide the case against you by default, and you could end up with a judgement against you without having had the opportunity to present your side of the case. Read more here about what to expect in court.

April 12, 2023
Jono Bosman

I am a UX researcher at OpenUp. My role is to ensure that projects research documentation is up-to-date, and that information is being collected, analysed and relayed back to the team for the informed decisions to be made.

Jono Bosman
Jono Bosman
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