Mogoeng: People should represent themselves in court

2013-10-11 13:01

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Court rules should be simplified so that people can represent themselves without using lawyers, Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng has said.

Mogoeng, who received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from the University of North West in Mahikeng this morning, said: “When the rules of the court are simplified, you don’t have to be legally qualified to prove your case and win it.”

He said this system has been implemented in some courts in the US, and he had seen someone representing himself and “running circles around lawyers” and winning his case.

It should be the same in South Africa, he said. “We want to implement the system here so that justice is not reserved for the rich, or for government,” he said.

He said people like farmers, even white farmers, are often not rich enough to afford justice.

“I lived in a shack as an advocate for more than a year. You don’t have to teach me about the plight of the poor. I know it,” he said.

Mogoeng praised himself and his team for the steps they had taken in moving towards a system of more efficient case-management and in ensuring the judiciary gets an independent administration.

He said the whole of the court system should, ideally, be run by the judiciary and there should be no political heads involved.

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