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Thread: A single judiciary

  1. #1
    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    A single judiciary

    I'm trying to feel this one over for catches.
    There was a constitutional need for a single judiciary in South Africa, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke said in Johannesburg on Saturday.

    The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said Moseneke made these comments at a two-day Magistrate's Conference.

    "It is clear from chapter eight of the Constitution that the magistracy must be integrated into the broader judicial system," said Moseneke.

    "We should strive to achieve a single judiciary."

    The department said Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Johnny de Lange had called for a more seamless judicial structure at the conference.

    "We want a situation where you have someone who starts in the traffic courts but who knows he can one day be chief justice."

    He said the lower judiciary was created for an apartheid system.

    "Now we ask: Is it the right structure for a democracy? We're restructuring the high courts and need to look at the lower courts structure [of regional and district]."

    Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Brigitte Mabandla said effective government had to have unity of purpose and a seamless link between its components.

    Earlier, Moseneke said the biggest threat to the judiciary's independence could come from within the judiciary itself by those who failed to uphold ethics.

    "All activities of a judge must be compatible with the status of a judicial office ... a judge must comply with the law of the land," he said.

    Moseneke said while a few judicial officers may have attracted the impression that "complying with the law is dispensable", the overwhelming majority meticulously honoured their oath to office.
    full story from M&G here
    I'm aware of the delays in getting matters to court. And then there is the cost issue. But I would have hought some sort of effective tiering would help ease these problems.

    Or maybe I'm missing the point.
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Email problem RKS Computer Solutions's Avatar
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    It seems an all to familiar tune... Every department or structure available directly to government has been put up for review it seems, and changes are sure to be made in the name of democracy...

    Only problem I have with this, apart from being directly involved with government, is that all the changes that are being made in any department/structure is still seen as below that of top government officials who go about their business as they have in the past and just keep on ignoring the parts of the law they wish to ignore...

    The above statement is not meant to show me as a racist, but rather an eery feeling I have in myself to do with the fact that our country is turning into a lawless society...

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    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    "It is clear from chapter eight of the Constitution that the magistracy must be integrated into the broader judicial system," said Moseneke. "We should strive to achieve a single judiciary."

    The department said Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Johnny de Lange had called for a more seamless judicial structure at the conference. "We want a situation where you have someone who starts in the traffic courts but who knows he can one day be chief justice."

    He said the lower judiciary was created for an apartheid system."

    Great, here we go again.... a recent case heard in the Constitutional Court (Travers v National Director of Public Prosecutions and Others 2007 (3) SA 242 (T)) ruled that: "Importantly, the court held that magistrates enjoyed the same level of judicial independence as did judges."

    As the lower Courts are a creature of statute, I fail to see how it can be construed that the "lower courts" was created for an apartheid system - my understanding was that the lower Courts were introduced to make the law (and Courts) accessable to all, and more so to the disadvantaged.

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I think that about encapsulates my unease around the position statements. It feels like whenever the underlying merit of an idea might be a tad weak, we trot out some linkage to the old regime and that's supposed to stop any further questions on the issue.

    The other thought that crossed my mind was that attempted restructure earlier which intended to place the judiciary under ministerial administration. Pulling off such a stunt at some point in the future might well be considerably easier under a single judiciary. A single head is easier to control.

    Or am I being a touch paranoid?
    Last edited by Dave A; 18-Sep-07 at 07:34 AM. Reason: Typo
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

  5. #5
    Silver Member Eugene's Avatar
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    I agree with you Dave - and I thought all along that the judiciary should be independant, but they way that they are going at in nowadays with the proposed Legal Charter etc, it's making a mockery of our justice system.

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