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Would-be judge hasn't worked with blacks, JSC hears

Publish date: 16 April 2018
Issue Number: 769
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: South Africa

Justice Minister Michael Masutha was astounded that one of the applicants for a vacancy in the KZN High Court (Durban) had not worked with a black counterpart in her 23 years as an advocate. Masutha made this comment as the Judicial Service Commission interviewed Elizabeth Law for one of two vacancies in that court, notes a BusinessLIVE report. Law was asked by commissioner Thandi Norman SC what had been her personal contribution to transformation in the legal profession. Law said she had mentored five people‚ four of them women and that she had an open-door policy for anyone in the Bar to discuss matters with her. Norman‚ however‚ pointed out that the mentoring programme at the Bar was compulsory and said her question went beyond that. ‘Have you worked with any African females on any matter?’ Norman asked. Law said she had not. Masutha said: ‘Are you telling me in 23 years‚ you have never had an opportunity‚ desire and so on to tag along a junior member of the Bar who is African let alone an African woman? Was it a matter of choice that you preferred yourself not to work with those people?’ Law said she had not actively gone out and asked people to join her on a case. ‘My practice … has largely been a family law practice. I am not certain how many people want to be involved in that. I have not proactively gone out and invited them to join me in cases‚’ Law said. The report notes Law has had acting stints in the KZN High Courts (Pietermaritzburg and Durban) where she spent 23 weeks.

Full BusinessLIVE report