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Judiciary: Reserved judgments continue to climb

The latest report for the Chief Justice on outstanding judgments shows that at the end of June, 97 court judgments across the country have been pending for at least six months. GroundUp reports that there were 879 reserved judgments, according to the Reserved Judgment Report for the Chief Justice, published this week. The judicial norms and standards state that judgments should be handed down within three months of being reserved. A previous report shows that at the end of July 2020, there were 82 judgments reserved for longer than six months.

This means that the number of reserved judgments outstanding for longer than six months has risen by 15 within the last year. The Johannesburg Labour Court had the most reserved judgments with a total of 120; 26 of which have been outstanding for longer than six months, up from 13 in the previous report, when this court also had the latest judgments. Its longest outstanding judgment was reserved on 9 January 2019, nearly three years ago. This was by Acting Judge Machaka, who has three reserved judgments. In April 2019, GroundUp reported that Judge Dephney Mahosi of the Johannesburg Labour Court was responsible for the highest number of late reserved judgments at the time. Mahosi still has the highest number, with 11 late judgments. The KZN High Court (Pietermaritzburg) has 13 judgments outstanding for longer than six months. The judgment which has been outstanding the longest dates back to 12 December 2012 by Judge Anton van Zyl. Judges Van Zyl, Siraj Desai and Jacqueline Henriques had previously been reported to the Judicial Complaints Commission due to their high numbers of outstanding reserved judgments. The Constitutional Court had seven judgments that had been reserved for longer than six months at the end of June.

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