18 September 2012 at 14:28 BST

South Africa minister calls for more women judges

The South African Minister of Justice has criticised the lack of women in the judiciary and private practice.

Speaking at the end of Women’s Month, Jeff Radebe said that, through reforming the State Legal Services: ‘We have started to implement measures that seek to broaden the allocation of legal work and briefs to women practitioners and other categories of previously disadvantaged individuals.’
He added that the Legal Practice Bill would seek ‘to address the gender-based prejudices that continue to limit equal access to the legal profession by women. Through the transformation of the legal profession we also seek to expand the pool for the appointment of more women judges in our quest to transform the judiciary.’

Better represented

His comments were backed up by Jean Meijer, head of competition at South African law firm Bowman Gilfillan, who said women were better represented in newer fields such as competition and consumer protection law.
‘In the case of competition law, it was initially perceived to be a soft-law area involving the completion of forms to secure merger clearance. By the time its impact as a practice area started to be felt, women were well established. The competition practices of three of the top six competition law firm are headed by women.’


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