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.
The DGRU’s focus on judicial governance has led to it making available to the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) research reports on candidates for judicial appointment, and to DGRU researchers attending, monitoring and commenting on the interviews of candidates for judicial appointment. Such reports have been complied for the September 2009, October 2010, April 2011, October 2011, April 2012, June 2012 and October 2012 interviews, as well as the Chief Justice’s interview in September 2011.
The intention of these reports continues to be to assist the JSC by providing an objective insight into the judicial records of the short-listed candidates. The reports are also intended to provide civil society and other interested stakeholders with a basis on which to assess candidates’ suitability for appointment to the bench.
The DGRU has recently created a database that contains all our reports
This database presents the DGRU’s reports on candidates for judicial appointments, which have been compiled for the Judicial Service Commission’s interviews since September 2009. The reports summarise candidate’s reported and unreported judgments.
The reports present the dates on which cases were heard, the dates on which judgments were delivered, and note subsequent upholding or overturning by appeal courts, where such information was available at the time the reports were complied.
The database allows the reports to be searched according to a candidate’s name, the provincial division to which they were applying to be appointed or in which they had delivered judgments, the name of a case, and the year in which the case was decided. It is possible to search under multiple categories simultaneously.
We hope that this database will make the results of our research easily accessible to anybody who may wish to research the track record of candidates for judicial appointments. The reports contain a sample of candidate’s judgments and are not intended to cover all the judgments a candidate has written.
The database can be found at http://www.dgrujudgements.co.za/BACK TO TOP