An ‘important purpose of section 34 [of the Constitution] is to guarantee the protection of the judicial process to persons who have disputes that can be resolved by law’ and that the right of access to court is ‘foundational to the stability of an orderly society. It ensures the peaceful, regulated and institutionalised mechanisms to resolve disputes, without resorting to self-help. The right of access to court is a bulwark against vigilantism, and the chaos and anarchy which it causes. Construed in this context of the rule of law and the principle against self-help in particular, access to court is indeed of cardinal importance’.The right guaranteed s34 would be rendered meaningless if court orders could be ignored with impunity:the underlying purposes of the right — and particularly that of avoidance of self-help — would be undermined if litigants could decide which orders they wished to obey and which they wished to ignore.
Recent controversies around the Bench and the Bar have highlighted the significance of race and existing patterns of power and privilege within the legal system and profession. Yet public debates seldom explore these issues explicitly. Discussions often end in a stalemate, where views are predetermined along racial lines, and where assertions of racism are countered by calls to reward merit or experience. The time has surely arrived to transcend these tired arguments and explore a new transformative vision of the legal system. In this, we need to acknowledge and confront the institutional and cultural structures that perpetuate racialised privilege and marginalisation. We also need to move beyond those narratives which are determined by our Apartheid past to confront the issues which threaten the profession and the legal system at the moment.
The panel discussion will be facilitated by Judge Dennis Davis. Our panellists are Mr Tshepo Madlingozi from the University of Pretoria, Dr Adila Hassim from the AIDS Law Project, Mr Tembeka Ncgukaitobi from the Legal Resources Centre and Advocate Sharise Weiner from the Johannesburg bar. Refreshments will be served after the event.
Date: Thursday 26 November 2009 at 17:00‐19:00.
Venue: Auditorium, Chalsty Centre, Oliver Schreiner Building, School of Law, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Kindly RSVP to Hafiza.Wadee@wits.ac.za by 23 November or tel 011‐717‐8412.BACK TO TOP