It gives me great pleasure to nominate Advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, SC for appointment to the impending vacant position of Justice to the Constitutional Court.
In past rounds of interviews, the Judicial Service Commission determined that Adv. Gauntlett meets the requirement of being "fit and proper". Both domestically and internationally, it has become almost axiomatic to refer to Adv. Gauntlett as one of the best legal minds in South African history. His contribution on the highest bench of the land will provide lustre to our judiciary and impetus to positive jurisprudential developments.
Adv. Gauntlett's patriotism is beyond doubt. I have known him for 40 years and can personally vouch for it.
During his judicial and adjudicative experience both on the bench and as an arbitrator, there has not been a single report on intemperance or anything that departs from his constant gentlemanly demeanour and conduct.
His exemplary conduct in court, having served a multitude of appointments with an unblemished disciplinary record for over 35 years, compels me to motivate strongly for his appointment as Justice to the Constitutional Court. His professional track record places him in a category comprising our best lawyers and judges ever.
Adv. Gauntlett has served as Judge of Appeal of the Kingdom of Lesotho (March 1997 to December 2010), as President of the Court of Appeal of the University of Cape Town (1993 to 2007), as Appellate Commissioner in the Special Income Tax Tribunal (1994 to 1997), as Member of the Commercial Appeals Panel of the Association of Arbitrators of South Africa (1997 to date), as President of the Labour Appeals Panel of the Association of Arbitrators of South Africa (1998 to date), with Adv. Lewis Skweyiya SC as Co-Chairman of the Board of Inquiry into the appointment and conduct of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand (1996), as Arbitrator of the national health workers strike dispute (NEHAWU v Transvaal Provincial Administration) (1993), and as Arbitrator in commercial and administrative law disputes. He was appointed in 2007 as international arbitrator for the International Aviation Trade Association in Geneva, and for the International Commercial Court in London in 2010, and held acting appointments on the Cape High Court in 1991, 1993, 1995, 2004 and 2008. He was Chairman of the South African Law Commission Project and a Member of the Commission from 1999 to 2006.
In terms of his South African Bar leadership, besides conducting extensive human rights, educational and pro bono initiatives for transformation, he was elected to two successive terms of office as Chairman of the Cape Bar Council and President of the Cape Bar (1997 to 1999), served on the National Executive of the GCB, was elected to three successive terms of office as Chairman of the GCB (1999 to 2002), participated in the negotiating and research process (1999 to date), prepared the draft proposed GCB Bill through six drafts (2000 to 2001), and thereafter served as a Member of the Task Team appointed by the then Minister of Justice, and was involved in the preparation through four drafts of its proposed Bill.
Adv. Gauntlett's extensive international Bar leadership includes, but is not limited to, serving as Member of the Council of the International Bar Association (1999 to 2001); Convenor of the Human Rights Working Group of the Forum for Barristers and Advocates (2002); Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Second World Bar Conference in Cape Town (2004); Co-Chair of the IBA's Forum for Barristers and Advocates (2005 to 2007); Bencher of the Middle Temple, London and Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, New York (2011).
In terms of his professional practice, Adv. Gauntlett was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa in October 1974, commenced practice at the Cape Bar on 3 January 1977, and has been in continuous practice since then. He was appointed Senior Counsel with effect from 20 February 1989; was admitted to practice in Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, England and Wales; and became a Member of the Middle Temple Inn of Court, London, and of the Bar of England and Wales. He is also a Member of the Johannesburg Bar, with chambers at Group 621, Rex Welsh House, Sandown.
His fields of interest span from administrative law, human rights and constitutional law to competition law, labour law, maritime (admiralty) law, the law of trusts, tax law, media and telecommunications law.
His contribution in South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho is highlighted in a schedule of some 400 reported judgments as an advocate and acting judge. As far as is known, this is the highest total achieved by a South African advocate. The list of his involvement in constitutional and public law matters is endless.
Adv. Gauntlett's academic appointments include and are not limited to Lecturer and External Examiner at the University of Cape Town; Visiting Fellow of New College, Oxford (1991); Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Stellenbosch (1996 to 1999); Visiting Lecturer at the University of Paris (2003); University College, London (2004); participation in the International Workshop on Administrative Justice at Leeds Castle (June 1999) chaired by Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC; and delivering (with Sir Sydney Kentridge QC) the 16th Kapila lecture of the Inns of Court School of Law and the Race Relations Committee of the General Council of the Bar of England and Wales.
His academic papers include lead papers at the South African Association of Labour Lawyers National Conference (2004, 2006 and 2010); SADC International Arbitration Symposium at Le Victoria, Mauritius (2007); and at the 2007 Conference of the Administrative Law Bar Association of England and Wales.
He delivered the main address at ALBA-Liberty-Freedom Under Law Seminar, Clifford Chance, London (March 2009). His was awarded the Butterworths' Prize for Legal Writing in 1991, and his publications include contributing three titles to Joubert (ed) Law of South Africa. He assisted in the preparation of the Second Edition of Honoré Law of Trusts; wrote the Second and Third Editions of Quantum of Damages: Principles (Vol I) (series edited by the Hon. M.M. Corbett); was appointed Consulting Editor of Employment Law (1998 to date), Chairman (and thereafter Member) of the Editorial Board of Advocate (1999 to 2003), Member of the Editorial Board of the South African Law Journal (2003); and has published contributions in SALJ, THR-HR and Advocate.
Beyond his legal qualifications and experience, Adv. Gauntlett has something immensely valuable: integrity and independence of judgement. These are essential characteristics of a fair, impartial and devoted judge.
I have witnessed these characteristics myself when, forty years ago, the then young Jeremy Gauntlett invited me to speak at Stellenbosch University. He was then the Chairman of the Students' Representative Council. The Chancellor of the University was Mr John Vorster, who directed the young Gauntlett not to allow a rebellious black man like me the benefit of such a prestigious venue. On the strength of his convictions, the then young Jeremy Gauntlett had the courage and stamina to defy the man who made the whole of Africa tremble. I cannot think of any better showing of character in respect of that which is required of a good judge.
I am confident that the interests of the Republic will be best served by having Adv Gauntlett serve in our highest court.
PRINCE MANGOSUTHU BUTHELEZI MP