Winning public trust: Towards a wider agenda for judicial transformation
The need for transformation of the judiciary in South Africa has been the subject of much public discussion and debate, both in the media and among legal professionals. This article argues that the key test of judicial transformation is not whether it meets some abstract standard established by students of the law, but whether judges and courts enjoy widespread legitimacy in society. It will suggest that this approach can explain why we need a more racially and gender representative judiciary if our justice system is to operate effectively – but will also argue that a concern for racial and gender change alone will not secure the public trust in the courts and the judiciary that transformation should seek to achieve. A broader reform agenda, which understands the intrinsic link between an improved judicial system and winning broad public support for a more representative judiciary, is thus needed.
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