n South African Law Journal - Problems and challenges of the judicial office : matters arising from

Volume 131, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



The recent case of 2012 (4) SA 560 (SCA) calls for a reflection on the office of judge and the problems attendant to judging. The nature of the judicial office requires not only a proper grounding in the discipline of law, but also professional experience and personal qualities of the occupant. The parties in court expect the judge to be open-minded and impartial, while the public demands that justice be dispensed according to law and the letter of the Constitution, not according to personal whims, nor for personal aggrandisement. A high degree of candour, decorum and accountability are the hallmarks of a successful judge. This article sets out the constraints of the judicial office; restates the importance to adjudication of public confidence in the judiciary; and underscores the requirement of judicial impartiality in the adjudicative process. It argues that the trial judge in broke many rules of fair adjudication, failed to apply well-known judicial restraints, and literally descended into the arena in the strict sense of that expression.

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