n South African Law Journal - Open justice and beyond : : notes

Volume 126, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



This note reflects upon the Constitutional Court decision in the matter of (hereafter ), both on its own terms and within the contexts of related questions raised recently regarding the interface of national security and openness. Some of these questions relate to the Protection of Information Bill (B28-2008) that has been considered by Parliament from May 2008 (although the Bill was withdrawn in October after the resignation of the Minister for Intelligence Services at the same time as the resignation of President Thabo Mbeki). The note outlines the contours, coherence and contests of the court's significant notion of open justice (constructed from the right of freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial, and the right of access to courts), which the case enunciates. Finally, this note briefly identifies a related constitutional concept, arguably the fount of open justice. One might term this related concept 'open democracy'. Such a concept would be rooted even more directly than open justice in the right of access to information contained in s 32 of the Bill of the Rights.

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