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)
15 September 2010

Criteria used by JSC when considering judicial appointments

ISSUED BY: JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION

SUMMARY OF THE CRITERIA USED BY THE JUDICIAL SERVICE COMMISSION WHEN CONSIDERING CANDIDATES FOR JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

At its Special Sitting held, in Johannesburg on 10 September 2010, the Judicial Service Commission resolved, after a lengthy debate and a review of the Guidelines that had been adopted in 1998, to publish the criteria used when considering candidates for judicial appointments. This decision is in line with the JSC’s principle that the process of judicial appointments should be open and transparent to the public so as to enhance public trust in the judiciary.

The following criteria are used in the interview of candidates, and in the evaluation exercise during the deliberations by the members of the Commission:

Criteria stated in the Constitution

1. Is the particular applicant an appropriately qualified person?
2. Is he or she a fit and proper person, and
3. Would his or her appointment help to reflect the racial and gender composition of South Africa?

Supplementary Criteria

1. Is the proposed appointee a person of integrity?
2. Is the proposed appointee a person with the necessary energy and motivation?
3. Is the proposed appointee a competent person?
(a) Technically competent
(b) Capacity to give expression to the values of the Constitution
4. Is the proposed appointee an experienced person?
(a) Technically experienced
(b) Experienced in regard to values and needs of the community
5. Does the proposed appointee possess appropriate potential?
6. Symbolism. What message is given to the community at large by a particular appointment?

Issued by the Judicial Service Commission

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