Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
18 May 2010

Practice Directions from the Chief Justice


The Chief Justice has issued the following practice directions in terms of Rule 32(2):

1. PRACTICE DIRECTION – EXTENDED TERMS (i) Until the formal amendment of rule 2, the first and third terms of every year will include the period 1 to 15 February and 1 to 15 August. (ii) Cases may be set down for hearing in these periods.

2. PRACTICE DIRECTION – LODGING OF RECORDS (i) Until the formal amendment of rule 1(3), parties lodging documents with the registrar are permitted to lodge only 12 (not 25) copies, plus an electronic version that is compatible with the court’s software. (ii) When a record is lodged with the Court, it shall consist, without duplication, only of those portions of the record before the High Court and, where applicable, the Supreme Court of Appeal, and the papers filed in this Court that are necessary for the determination of the appeal. (iii) In addition, the applicant shall, not later than ten days before the hearing – (a) lodge one copy of a supplemental volume to the record, consisting of all documents filed in this Court which do not form part of the record already lodged; (b) number these documents consecutively beginning with the page immediately after the last page of the record already lodged; and (c) provide an updated index which includes the supplementary volume(s).

3. PRACTICE DIRECTION – FILING OF RECORDS IN DIRECT ACCESS APPLICATIONS Until the formal amendment of Rule 18, an applicant for direct access shall, where the matter has been set down for a hearing, not later than ten days before the hearing – (i) lodge one bound and paginated bundle consisting of all documents filed in this Court; (ii) collate the bundle in (i) according to date on which each document was lodged in this Court; and iii) provide an index for the bundle.

4. PRACTICE DIRECTION – LENGTH OF WRITTEN ARGUMENT Except in exceptional circumstances, with leave obtained in advance by letter directed to the Chief Justice, written argument submitted to the Court in any matter shall not exceed fifty (50) pages of typescript, double-spaced and in fourteen-point font.

5. PRACTICE DIRECTION – NOTE TO BE SUBMITTED WITH WRITTEN ARGUMENT When written argument is lodged, counsel must submit a short typed note setting out the following: (a) the names of the parties and the case number; (b) the nature of the proceedings; (c) the issues that will be argued, clearly and succinctly stated; (d) an indication of portions of the record that, in the opinion of counsel, are necessary for the determination of the matter; (e) an estimate of the duration of oral argument; (f) a summary of the argument not exceeding five pages of typescript, double-spaced and in fourteen-point font; (g) a list of authorities on which particular reliance will be placed during oral argument.

6. PRACTICE DIRECTION – NO “NON-DAYS” IN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT (i) The attention of practitioners and litigants is drawn to the fact that the rules of the Court do not make provision for “non-days” [dies non], including the period between Christmas and New Year. (i) Periods for the lodging of applications, responding affidavits and other documents continue to run throughout the year. (ii) Unless, in exceptional cases, a request for relaxation has been granted, an application for condonation is essential in all cases of non-compliance.

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