South African Chief Justice visits Germany
From June 17-20 a delegation of the Office of the Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng visited Germany to get an impression of the German judicial system.
Enlarge image Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and Andreas Voβkuhle, President of the German Constitutional Court (© GIZ) What constitutes a reliable judicial system and a functioning judiciary? These and other questions relating to the judiciary were the focus of the trip. The highlight was a visit to the German Constitutional Court (“Bundesverfassungsgericht”) and a technical discussion with its President, Vice Presidents and other representatives of the two senates.
Mogoeng Mogoeng also visited the German Judicial Academy in Trier, the Federal Court in Karlsruhe, the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law in Heidelberg, the German Ministry of Justice and the Supreme Court in Berlin.
Topics of discussion included the role of Germany's Constitutional Court and the election of constitutional judges, the ratio of the three branches of government to each other, the organization of the courts and the education and training of judges.
The Chief Justice and his delegation were visibly impressed with the robust and reliable German judicial system and especially of the high professional ethics of its judges. The German success model can therefore provide important ideas for the reform of the South African judiciary. The German development agency GIZ supports the reform on behalf of the German government.
In the discussions it became clear that the German judiciary owes its success among other things, the comprehensive support structure that can be accessed by any court. Already a numerical comparison shows the challenges remaining for the South African system: More than 20,000 German judges in the various jurisdictions compared to just over 2,000 judges and magistrates in South Africa.
Enlarge image Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng with Rüdiger Wolfrum, Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for Public International Law (© GIZ ) The Chief Justice is the presiding judge of the South African Constitutional Court. His main task is a judicial reform to develop a new model for the administration of justice.
The visit to Germany underlined the historic connection between the constitutional courts of both countries. Germany advised South Africa after the end of apartheid in the process of creating a new constitution. In 1994, immediately after the first democratic elections, South African Constitutional Court judges visited Karlsruhe for the first time.
The current visit was organised by the GIZ as part of the Public Service Reform Programme.
Dr Angela Paul, advisor of the Office of the Chief Justice commented the trip as follows: “The German justice system can not be a blueprint for South Africa, I'm sure that the talks have provided important impetus for the reforms in South Africa".