Judge President Mlambo challenges attorneys to join the fight on fixing the courts at GAA inaugural meeting

October 1st, 2018

Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria, Dunstan Mlambo. He spoke at the first inaugural meeting of the Gauteng Attorneys Association held in Johannesburg on 29 August.

By Kgomotso Ramotsho

Judge President of the Gauteng Division of the High Court in Pretoria, Dunstan Mlambo, told legal practitioners that they have a better voice when they merge their thoughts into one organisation. Judge President Mlambo was speaking at the Gauteng Attorneys’ Association (GAA), inaugural meeting, which was held in Johannesburg on 29 August.

The GAA compromises of the Pretoria Attorneys Association and the Johannesburg Attorneys Association. The GAA is a voluntary association not for gain and represents the interests of attorneys practising in Gauteng.

He congratulated the legal practitioners who are based in different cities in Gauteng for forming the GAA. He added the association was a way for legal practitioners to strengthen their numbers, particularly with the changes that the legal profession is currently undergoing.

Judge President Mlambo spoke about digitising courts, he said that in August the judiciary conducted workshops for judges, which showcased a digital platform that judges will be operating. He added that they started a pilot phase in Gauteng during September. He pointed out that legal practitioners have been operating on digital platforms in their law firms, but when they go to court they still had to work on hard copies, which did not make sense. He noted that the judiciary will also have workshops for legal practitioners to show them how to acquire the digital court systems and how to operate them.

Judge President Mlambo said that Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng, identified the Gauteng Division to introduce mediation in court. He added that the judiciary has the same common interest with the legal profession and pointed out that society expects legal practitioners to represent them efficiently and expects the judiciary to treat cases swiftly. Judge President Mlambo said he was trying to re-introduce the commercial court. He added that he wanted commercial work to be referred to the High Court and for the court to have a proper meaning as a court of justice for everyone.

Judge President Mlambo said that there were people who argued that the City Centre of Johannesburg was dangerous for them to go to the Johannesburg Local Division. He suggested that there be restrictions of vehicles and pedestrian access around the Johannesburg Local Division. He pointed out that there were individuals who thought the idea would work and said they would rather use the Gautrain services. They suggested that there be a shuttle or taxi service from the Johannesburg Gautrain station to the Johannesburg Local Division.

Judge President Mlambo said legal practitioners cannot sit and watch the judiciary fight this battle of making the Johannesburg Local Division an efficient place of work alone. He added that legal practitioners are in a far better position to fix the court. Legal practitioners can petition the area and control who comes and goes in around the court. ‘It is your court, you own it, that is where you litigate. Help us, join hands with us,’ Judge President Mlambo said.

Kgomotso Ramotsho Cert Journ (Boston) Cert Photography (Vega) is the news reporter at De Rebus.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2018 (Oct) DR 11.