Judicial Capacity in a Transforming Legal System

20 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2017 Last revised: 16 Nov 2017

See all articles by Hugh Corder

Hugh Corder

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law

Date Written: September 19, 2017


English Abstract: Given the perennial problem of lack of access to justice; the fact that there was no shortage of superior court judges until 1994; the demands on court process which flow directly from transition to the constitutional democratic system; and the urgent and justified necessity for the demographic transformation of judicial personnel, two challenges to the capacity of the judicial system present themselves in South Africa: Enlarging the number of suitable candidates for judicial appointment to redress the former demographic imbalance; and developing the kind of skills among those appointed as judges to be able to respond with confidence across a wide range of often complex legal issues; and developing a theory of judicial deference which observes the separation of powers and preserves judicial independence.

This paper explores these challenges, after setting out the socio-political context, as it impacts directly on their nature and scope, and the prospects of meeting them.

Spanish Abstract: Debido al constante problema de la falta de acceso a la justicia, al hecho de que no hubo escasez de jueces de tribunales superiores hasta 1994, las demandas del proceso judicial que surgen directamente de la transición al sistema democrático constitucional, y la necesidad urgente y justificada de la transformación demográfica del personal judicial, el rendimiento judicial en Sudáfrica se encuentra con dos desafíos: Aumentar el número de candidatos aptos al nombramiento judicial para compensar el anterior desequilibrio demográfico y desarrollar en los jueces nombrados aquellas habilidades que les permitan responder con confianza a asuntos jurídicos a menudo complejos; y desarrollar una teoría de deferencia judicial que respete la separación de poderes y preserve la independencia judicial.

Este artículo explora estos desafíos tras explicar el contexto sociopolítico, ya que éste afecta directamente a su naturaleza y alcance, y las probabilidades de que se superen.

Keywords: South Africa, judicial capacity, judicial appointments, demographic transformation, judicial deference, Sudáfrica, rendimiento judicial, nombramientos judiciales, transformación demográfica, deferencia judicial

Suggested Citation

Corder, Hugh, Judicial Capacity in a Transforming Legal System (September 19, 2017). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 7, No. 4, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3039518

Hugh Corder (Contact Author)

University of Cape Town (UCT) - Faculty of Law

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Rondebosch 7701
South Africa

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