Constitutional court statistics for the 2012 term

SOURCE: South African Journal on Human Rights
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.Tungay, C.Samaradiwakera-Wijesundara, M.Cooke, C.Ndebele, M.Wentzel, J.Viljoen, I.Magaya, L.Chamberlain
DEPARTMENT: Developmental, Capable and Ethical State (DCES)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 8830
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/1773

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In 2012 the Constitutional Court delivered 31 judgments which is consistent with the current trend of an increasing caseload (the court delivered 37 judgments in 2011, 28 judgments in 2010, 34 judgments in 2009 and 25 judgments in 2008). 45.1 per cent of the judgments delivered in 2012 were unanimous. This is a significant decrease from the 70.3 per cent in 2011 and also from the court's average degree of unanimity of 77.1 per cent from 1995 to 2006. In 2012 the government was successful in 32 per cent of the cases in which it was involved. This is more or less consistent with the 2011 figure of 34.8 per cent, and the 2010 figure of 30.8 per cent. Just more than 70 per cent (71.4 per cent) of the decided cases in 2012 were rights-based cases while 28.6 per cent were decided on other aspects of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 indicating that the court remains occupied primarily with human rights issues. Interestingly, in 2012 the overwhelming majority of decided cases (92.8 per cent) were civil in nature and only one case (3.6 per cent) was criminal and one case (3.6 per cent) was intra-governmental. When looking at access routes to the Constitutional Court, the data shows that 35.4 per cent of the cases reached the court by way of an application for leave to appeal against a decision of the Supreme Court of Appeal (which is on par with the 35.1 per cent figure in 2011) and 29 per cent were direct appeals from the High Court (up from 24.3 per cent in 2011). 22.6 per cent were applications for direct access to the Constitutional Court. This is more or less the same as the 21.6 per cent in 2011, and a decrease from the 29 per cent in 2010, but a significant increase on the 11.7 per cent figure for 2009. In the 2012 term it took the court an average of 106 days to deliver a judgment after a hearing. This is a slight decrease from the average of 114 days in 2011 and 116 days in 2009, but a significant increase from the average of 71 days in 2010.