Judges Matter is a loose coalition of civil society organisations who believe in the importance of judges.
Why do we think that judges matter?
We believe that judges matter because the law matters in any democracy, especially in a democracy where the courts – and particularly the Constitutional Court – represent a significant check against executive or legislative abuse, and where the judiciary has the power to overturn decisions of the ‘political’ branches of government. Judges and the judgments they have made have increasingly become more central to politics in South Africa.
It is therefore unsurprising that the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), where judges get appointed, has become a site of political contestation.
The question of how we appoint our judges is therefore a very important one, especially as most people do not know enough about the process of selection to observe and comment on the selection of judges.
What we do
We believe that a good process makes for good appointments, and so Judges Matter focuses on the appointments process for judges. We try to explain how the process works in theory, and then following that we aim to explain how it works in practice.
We track and illustrate the process by providing transcripts of the JSC interviews, information about candidates being interviewed by the JSC, and by reporting on the appointments made.
We also work to share this information with stakeholders in civil society, and facilitate their involvement in the process. Where there are concerns about specific candidates we write letters to the JSC.
Part of our actions also includes providing a snapshot of the judgements of any candidate on the issues civil society are taken-up with such as land, gender based violence, housing and customary law.
We hope that this website provides you, our reader with more information about the JSC, the judge interview process and the South African judicial system as a whole. Should you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us on email or through our social media channels – Facebook and Twitter.