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Supreme Court Act, 1959 (Act No. 59 of 1959)

19 bis. Reference of particular matters for investigation by referee


(1) In any civil proceedings any court of a provincial or local division may, with the consent of the parties, refer—
(a) any matter which requires extensive examination of documents or scientific, technical or local investigation which in the opinion of the court cannot be conveniently conducted by it; or
(b) any matter which relates wholly or in part to accounts; or
(c) any other matter arising in such proceedings,

for enquiry and report to a referee, and the court may adopt the report of any such referee, either wholly or in part, and either with or without modifications, or may remit such report for further enquiry or report or consideration by such referee, or make such other order in regard thereto as may be necessary or desirable.


(2) Any such report or any part thereof which is adopted by the court, whether with or without modifications, shall have effect as if it were a finding by the court in the civil proceedings in question.


(3) Any such referee shall for the purpose of such enquiry have such powers and shall conduct the enquiry in such manner as may be prescribed by a special order of court or by rules of court.


(4) For the purpose of procuring the attendance of any witness (including any witness detained in custody under any law) and the production of any document or thing before a referee, an enquiry under this section shall be deemed to be civil proceedings.



(a) Any person summoned to appear and give evidence or produce any document or thing before a referee, and who, without sufficient cause, fails to attend at the time and place specified or to remain in attendance until the conclusion of the enquiry or until he is excused by the referee from further attendance, or refuses to be sworn or to make affirmation as a witness, or having been sworn or having made affirmation, fails to answer fully and satisfactorily any question put to him, or fails to produce any document or thing in his possession or custody or under his control which he was summoned to produce, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding three months.
(b) Any person who after having been sworn or having made affirmation, gives false evidence before a referee at an enquiry, knowing such evidence to be false or not knowing or believing it to be true, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to the penalties prescribed by law for perjury.


(6) Any referee shall be entitled to such remuneration as may be prescribed by the rules of court or, if no such remuneration has been so prescribed, as the court may determine, and to any reasonable expenditure incurred by him for the purposes of the enquiry, and any such remuneration and expenditure shall be taxed by the taxing master of the court and shall be costs in the cause.