Media Statement: JSC Process for Judicial Appointment

In a recent opinion piece published in Daily Maverick, HSF senior legal researcher, Chelsea Ramsden, reflects on the most recent round of Judicial Service Commission (JSC) interviews. She notes significant improvement in the process, it having allowed for rich, considered debate between some of the commissioners and candidates and a demonstration of how robust but respectful interrogation of judicial candidates might be engaged in.

Chelsea observes that the standard and nature of questioning allowed for assessment of the candidates’ respective abilities, skills and understanding of the law. Commissioners were able to weigh candidates against each other primarily on the basis of their expertise to be judges.

Importantly and encouragingly, the new tenor and approach of the JSC interviews may mean that candidates prejudiced in past proceedings might consider reapplying and that new candidates, previously deterred by the prospect of a potentially abusive ordeal, might now put themselves forward.

In recent days, the JSC has disclosed that prior to the most recent interview rounds, the JSC had adopted revised criteria and guidelines for selecting candidates for judicial appointment. It has invited comment on these revised criteria and guidelines by 27 November 2022. The HSF will look to do so.

Chelsea’s piece is available here.

The JSC’s revised criteria and guidelines for selecting judges is available here.