Issue Eight - November 2008 - Courts in a Crucible?

The past year has been a challenging one for South Africa’s judiciary. It has been both the object and subject of much political controversy. Judges have been in the spotlight of controversy, senior political leaders of various affiliations have brazenly and calculatedly attacked the judiciary under the guise of legitimate criticism and judges themselves have acted in ways that have posed new challenges for the judiciary as a whole (with a judge of the High Courts and the justices of the Constitutional Court at loggerheads). The situation has furthermore posed challenges for the operation and procedures of the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) and the concept of judicial misconduct and for the manner in which the public view the judiciary, the legitimacy of the courts and the justness of rulings from the bench.