Quote of the week

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.

Plasket AJ
Victoria Park Ratepayers' Association v Greyvenouw CC and others (511/03) [2003] ZAECHC 19 (11 April 2003)
14 August 2007

Con Court life a drag?

Some people are speculating that the members of the Constitutional Court have recently drifted to the right, but it seems as if the Clerks who assist the learned judges with their research and contribute significantly to the intellectual debates at the Court are less inhibited.

I got hold of the invite below to a party organised by some of the Clerks at the Court. The party was organised in response to the practice in Umlazi, where woman are being forbidden (and in one case stripped naked) from wearing trousers and also in response to the recent murders of lesbian women in Soweto and elsewhere.

Pity some of the (male) judges are not attending as well. Wearing a dress might just help some of the male judges to embrace their (as yet underdeveloped) empathetic side.

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