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 annual Ben Beinart lecture will take place on Tuesday April the 16th at 17h45 in the Oliver Tambo Moot Court on level 5 of the Kramer Law Building, Middle Campus, UCT. There will be drinks and snacks beforehand at 17h15 in the common room.
Prof Hector McQueen, currently a Scots Law Commissioner on leave from the University of Edinburgh, will give the lecture. The title of his lecture is ‘Ae fond kiss: a private matter’. The paper considers the background and legal implications contemporary and current of an 1804 case in the Scottish Court of Session, in which the publication of letters between the poet Robert Burns and the love of his life known as Clarinda was prohibited by the court. This continues Prof MacQueen’s work on the protection of privacy as an aspect of personality. Privacy has, of course, long been protected at common law in South Africa and now enjoys enhanced protection in s 14 of the Constitution. It is an issue of great contemporary importance in public, private and commercial law, as current debates over the Protection of Personal Information Bill and the General Intelligence Laws Amendment Bill illustrate. Prof MacQueen’s lecture provides an opportunity to look into the mirror of comparative law, past and present, and to seek to draw lessons for privacy protection today. He will also refer to South African law.
Prof MacQueen’s full CV can be found at http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/staff/hectormacqueen_53.aspx.
Prof MacQueen was Dean of the Law School at the University of Edinburgh 1999-2003. He is currently on leave of absence January 2010-September 2014, having taken up an appointment as a Scottish Law Commissioner. Professor MacQueen has previously held visiting appointments at Cornell University in the USA, the University of Utrecht in the Netherlands, and Stetson University College of Law (‘Florida’s first law school’). He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh since 1995 and was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 2006. Professor MacQueen is President of the Society of Legal Scholars 2012-2013. He was Vice-President (Humanities) of the RSE 2008-2011 and is currently a member of the Law subject standing committee of the British Academy.
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