Selecting judges 'a very difficult task'

2013-04-17 09:37


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Johannesburg - Retired Constitutional Court Judge Kate O'Regan said the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) faced "a very difficult task" in deciding how to select judges, The Star reported on Wednesday.

O'Regan said the JSC had to balance three requirements - appropriate qualifications, whether the candidate was "fit and proper", and demographic representivity.

She was speaking at the 18th Commonwealth Law Conference on Tuesday.

According to the newspaper, O'Regan said there was dismay when anyone spoke of "two black female candidates or two white male candidates" and the JSC then selected somebody who was "less experienced than somebody else".

The question of fair process in the appointment of judges was also a point of "disquiet".

"This is a very visible public process and it is very important that the process is seen and perceived to be fair," she was quoted as saying.

"We have had a pattern in the last couple of sessions of the JSC where many candidates who had been approached by a range of organisations such as the law society (and NGOs), who've said they just do not want to participate in the process."

O'Regan's comments came after JSC commissioner Izak Smuts resigned last week amid disagreement about the transformation of the Bench.

Read more on:    jsc  |  judiciary

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