In a recent ruling which broadens access to justice for the wider population, a third High Court has told banks they are abusing the legal process by bypassing Magistrate's Courts and taking bad-debt cases straight to a judge.

The Eastern Cape High Court (Makhanda) decision means banks have now been chastised for the practice in the Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Limpopo, says a Times Select report.

It notes that while the rulings are slightly different in each province, the outcome is the same: banks suing house or car owners who have fallen in arrears must use Magistrate’s Courts.

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) ruling took effect in February, and Limpopo Judge President Ephraim Makgoba issued a directive in May 2018 saying attorneys who wanted to bypass Magistrate's Courts must first get permission.

Judge Murray Lowe, who ruled against Nedbank, FNB, Standard Bank and Ford Credit in Makhanda, said lenders who went straight to the High Court because they knew debtors would be unable to afford legal representation were abusing the courts’ process.

Full Times Select report