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Minister Masutha announces further amendments to State Attorney’s Act

30 October 2015

In his keynote address during the Annual General Meeting of the Cape Law Society in Kimberly today, Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Advocate Michael Masutha, MP, reinforced the Department’s commitment to transform the legal profession. Minister Masutha said there is a need to further amend the State Attorney Act to give the incumbent of the office of the Solicitor-General sufficient authority to champion the much needed transformation of the State Attorney’s Office.

The Minister has requested the Department to prepare the policy and a comprehensive plan for its implementation which will be discussed at the Colloquium envisage later this year. The Department will engage with civil society and other organisations within the legal profession regarding the colloquium.

In his speech, Minister Masutha commended the enactment of the Legal Practice Act as one of the significant milestones in the transformation of the justice system. The Minister said part of the institutional reforms advanced by the Legal Practice Act is the requirement for the creation of Provincial Legal Council for each province.  “These calls for the Cape Law Society to split into two in accordance to give effect to the provincial divide. The establishment of the local seat of the High Court and construction of more courts is expected to increase the number of practitioners over time and address the unique challenge in the Northern Cape of vast landscape and thinly spread human settlements as a result of spatial injustices of the past”. Minister Masutha said

Furthermore, as part of establishing a caring justice system, the Seventeenth Amendment of 2012 and the Superior Courts Act of 2013 have ensured major reformations, in particular affirmed the Chief Justice as the Head of the Judiciary and the Constitutional Court as the uppermost court in the land. Minister Masutha said “through this affirmation, the Chief Justice is empowered to develop norms and standards that ensure that the Judiciary caries-out its mandate diligently and expeditiously and thereby enhances access to justice for the all people who look up to the courts for legal redress. Again, through these constitutional amendments the Constitutional Court has become the nerve centre of our evolving jurisprudence.” He said.

The Constitution Seventeenth Amendment provided a constitutional framework for the enactment of the Superior Courts Act which has not only changed the architecture of the Superior Courts, but has also established a blueprint that will guide the restructuring of the Lower Courts which has started to unfold. Through the Superior Courts Acts the Office of the Chief Justice was established as a separate national department that provides administrative support to the Judiciary as an independent arm of the State.

Minister Masutha thanked all the legal practitioners for their invitation and extended gratitude to those who serve for free as presiding officers in the Small Claims Courts.

Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development  

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