Appeal court included in judicial review

A government review of the judiciary has been broadened to include the Supreme Court of Appeal, the justice ministry said on Tuesday.

Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe released a discussion document on judicial transformation and the appropriate role of the judiciary last month.

At the time, he said the department would commission an assessment of the decisions of the Constitutional Court, their impact on social transformation and the reconstruction of South African law.

On Monday, Radebe’s ministry said the investigation would also include the Supreme Court of Appeal.

The Constitutional Court is the highest court on all constitutional matters. The Supreme Court of Appeal is the highest court of appeal in all matters other than constitutional ones.

“It is appropriate that any assessment of the impact of such jurisprudence must be in respect of both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal,” the ministry said.

Analysing decisions
According to the terms of reference of the review, released on Monday, it would analyse the decisions of both courts in order to establish the extent to which their decisions had contributed to the reform of South African jurisprudence and law.

It would analyse jurisprudence and socio-economic rights, particularly the eradication of inequality and poverty, and the enhancement of human dignity. It would also examine the state’s capacity to realise the outcome of such court decisions.

The assessment should consider the costs of litigation at both of these courts, and how this impacts on access to justice.

Delays in finalising court cases must also be looked at.

“We trust that the assessment will stimulate debates and constructive views on constitutional rights that advance our democracy,” the ministry said.—Sapa

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