Legal Practice Council

Court slams lawyers for not having COVID-19 permits to appear in case

A South African judge has strongly criticised a group of lawyers who appeared in an urgent case that, among other things, dealt with access to water by residents of a municipality affected by a political dispute. The judge said that the lawyers were irresponsible and unprofessional because they had not obtained the permits required to attend a court case under COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

"Disgraceful abuse of legal authority" - attorney re-writes court's judgment before delivery

In what two high court judges have described as misconduct “unprecedented in the annals of SA judicial history”, a magistrate has been found to have allowed an attorney to re-write his judgment before delivery. Even worse, the attorney concerned had appeared for one side in the case that led to the judgment. The magistrate, who has since died, initially wrote a judgment four pages in length, but after the attorney’s re-write this increased to 10 pages.

Read judgment

Just one sentence into the judgment, and you know this is a legal scandal of significant proportions: Judges Thembekile Malusi and Mbulelo Jolwana said the “misconduct which culminated in this review, to the best of our knowledge, is unprecedented in the annals of the judiciary in this country. We hope it will never be repeated by any judicial officer.”

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