Judicial Independence

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We live in a democratic society based on values such as dignity and equality.1To uphold such values as well as gain the trust and confidence of society, having a judiciary who has integrity, is impartial and most of all a judiciary who is independent is crucial. Independence of the judiciary is promoted by the constitution as section 165(2) of The 1996 Constitution of The Republic of South-Africa states that: ‘the courts are independent and subject only to the Constitution and the law, which they must apply impartially and without fear, favour or prejudice.’ Judicial independence is promoted by separation of powers which is inherent throughout chapters 4-6 of the constitution. This doctrine allows for the separation of the functions of the…show more content…
This section stated that a creditor refusing to answer a question or produce the required documentation at a creditors meeting, may be detained or committed to prison by the presiding officer. Judge Ackerman wrote the majority judgement and founded that the subsection was indeed unconstitutional as it infringed the rights to not be detained without a trial.5 Judge Sachs agreed with the majority judgement but had a different ratio. He based his decision on the principle of separation of powers.6 He applied the principle that only the judiciary has the necessary independence and authority to punish unlawful conduct by means of imprisonment. He came to the conclusion that the subsection contravenes the principle of separation of powers, as a judicial function is entrusted to a member of the executive and it is therefore unconstitutional and invalid. A similar incident of the overlaps between the function of the judiciary and that of the executive is the case of South-African Association of Personal Injury Lawyers v Heath,7 in which the court held that a judge may not head a criminal investigation unit as this is, according to the principle of separation of powers not a judicial, but an executive function However with a system of checks and balances, absolute separation of powers is not always possible and therefore absolute…show more content…
This is because not only is the judiciary being undermined but the very principles meant to ensure judicial independence is being disregarded .These problems have to be smoothed out to ensure that everyone abides by the will of the constitution and the orders of the judiciary for as in de Lange v Smuts the court said: ‘independence and impartiality are fundamental not only to the capacity to do justice but also to individual and public confidence in the administration of justice. Without that confidence the system can’t command the respect and acceptance essential to effective

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