chapter  5
18 Pages

The Judicial Service Commission

Lessons from South Africa
ByCora Hoexter

South Africa's transition from white minority rule to constitutional democracy demanded the transformation of all her public institutions, including the judiciary. The Constitutional Court has been one of the great successes of the new South Africa, and in just over two decades it has achieved international acclaim as well as domestic legitimacy.12 The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) started off well but has already lost a good deal of its prestige and credibility as the body responsible for selecting judges for appointment. This chapter discusses the JSC's performance in the expectation that other jurisdictions may learn from South Africa's sometimes painful experience. It briefly describes the composition and role of the JSC under the two democratic Constitutions that have governed South Africa since 1994. The chapter acknowledges that the JSC and its selection process achieved a large measure of legitimacy in its first few years of operation, pointing out a number of areas where that legitimacy has been eroded more recently.