Average Magistrate Salary in South Africa (2024)

The Average Magistrate salary in South Africa is R80,000 per month. An entry-level Magistrate earns a salary range of R47,217, a mid-career level earns a salary range of R63,575 and a senior/experienced level earns R115,042 per month.

Average Magistrate Salary in South Africa

Job Title Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Entry-Level Magistrate 47,217
Mid-Career Magistrate 63,575
Experienced Magistrate 115,042

Types of Magistrate and Salary in South Africa Per Month

Types of Magistrate Approximate Monthly Salary (ZAR)
Lower Court Magistrates 88,568
Senior Magistrates 96,000
Regional Court Magistrates 116,000
Chief Magistrates 116,000
Presiding Officers 129,392

In South Africa, there are several types of magistrates, each with different levels of authority and responsibilities. The salary for magistrates can vary depending on their position and experience.

Keep in mind that salary figures can change over time due to inflation and government decisions. Here are some common types of magistrates and their functions in South Africa.

Types of Magistrates and their Functions in South Africa

1. Lower Court Magistrates

These magistrates are typically stationed at magistrate’s courts in various districts and regions across South Africa. They handle less serious criminal cases, including theft, minor assaults, and drug offences.

In addition, they preside over civil cases where the disputed amount is below a certain threshold. Lower court magistrates conduct trials, issue arrest and search warrants, and may also deal with issues like bail applications and protection orders.

2. Senior Magistrates

Senior magistrates have more extensive jurisdiction and handle cases that are more serious. They often deal with crimes such as sexual assault, armed robbery, and fraud.

Additionally, they handle civil cases with higher monetary value. Senior magistrates can also hear appeals from decisions made by lower court magistrates.

3. Metropolitan Magistrates

These magistrates are usually located in urban centres and deal with legal matters specific to those areas.

They often preside over cases related to municipal by-laws, traffic offences, and public disturbances. They play a crucial role in maintaining order in densely populated regions.

4. Specialized Magistrates

South Africa recognizes the need for specialized expertise in certain areas of law. Specialized magistrates focus on specific legal domains, such as family law, child justice, and domestic violence. Their training and experience enable them to address the unique challenges presented by cases in these areas.

5. Magistrates in the Children’s Court

The Children’s Court is a specialized court system that deals exclusively with cases involving children. Magistrates in this court handle matters related to child protection, custody, and juvenile offenders. They are trained to consider the best interests of the child and aim to rehabilitate young offenders rather than focusing solely on punishment.

Factors Affecting Magistrate Salary in South Africa

Magistrate salaries in South Africa are influenced by several factors, and they can vary based on these considerations. Some of the key factors affecting magistrate salaries in South Africa include:

1. Experience and Seniority

The level of experience and seniority of a magistrate can significantly impact their salary. Magistrates with more years of service and a higher rank typically receive higher salaries.

2. Geographic Location

Salaries can vary depending on the geographic location of the magistrate’s posting. In South Africa, urban areas with a higher cost of living often offer higher salaries than rural areas.

3. Type of Court

The type of court a magistrate presides over can also affect their salary. For example, regional court magistrates who handle more serious criminal cases may earn higher salaries than lower court magistrates.

4. Specialization

Some magistrates may specialize in specific areas of the law, such as family law or children’s court. Specialization can lead to increased responsibilities and potentially higher salaries.

5. Government Pay Scales

Magistrate salaries are typically determined by government pay scales and regulations. Changes in government policies, inflation rates, and annual salary adjustments can impact their earnings.

6. Bonuses and Benefits

Magistrates may be eligible for various bonuses and benefits, which can contribute to their overall compensation. These can include housing allowances, medical benefits, and performance-related bonuses.

7. Education and Training

Magistrates with advanced degrees or specialized training may receive additional compensation. In some cases, advanced education may be a requirement for certain positions.

8. Union Negotiations

Labour unions can negotiate on behalf of magistrates to secure better pay and benefits. The outcome of union negotiations can impact salary levels.

9. Judicial Promotion

Magistrates who are promoted to higher judicial positions, such as becoming judges, may see a substantial increase in their salary.

10. Government Budget and Economic Conditions

The overall financial health of the government and the state of the economy can influence salary levels for public servants, including magistrates.

How to Become a Magistrate in South Africa

Becoming a magistrate in South Africa typically requires a combination of education, experience, and a formal application and selection process. Here are the general steps to becoming a magistrate in South Africa

1. Educational Requirements

Obtain a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from a recognized South African university. This is typically a four-year undergraduate program.

2. Legal Practical Training

After obtaining your LLB degree, you must complete a year of legal practical training, known as articles of clerkship, under the supervision of a practising attorney or advocate. This practical experience is crucial for understanding the legal profession and gaining practical skills.

3. Admission as an Attorney or Advocate

Once you have completed your articles of clerkship, you can apply to be admitted as an attorney or advocate. You can choose to follow either route, as both attorneys and advocates can become magistrates. To become an advocate, you’ll need to pass the National Bar Examination.

4. Gain Legal Experience

Before becoming a magistrate, it’s essential to gain experience as a practising attorney or advocate. Most magistrates have several years of legal practice to their credit. This experience helps develop the necessary legal skills and knowledge.

5. Apply for Magistrate Vacancies

Monitor job vacancies and advertisements for magistrate positions in South Africa. Magistrate vacancies are typically advertised by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. When a vacancy that matches your qualifications and experience becomes available, apply.

6. Selection Process

If your application is successful, you will likely be invited to participate in a selection process. This process may involve interviews, assessments, and reference checks. It is highly competitive, and candidates are selected based on their qualifications, experience, and suitability for the role.

7. Appointment as a Magistrate

If you successfully navigate the selection process and are appointed as a magistrate, you will undergo further training and orientation as a new judicial officer. Magistrates in South Africa serve in various courts, including lower and regional courts, and preside over a wide range of cases.



The Average Magistrate’s Salary in South Africa is R80,000. Becoming a magistrate in South Africa entails completing an LLB degree, obtaining legal practical training through articles of clerkship, and becoming admitted as an attorney or advocate.

After gaining legal experience, individuals can apply for magistrate positions as they become available. The selection process is competitive and involves interviews and assessments to determine a candidate’s suitability. Successful candidates receive further training