If ordinary South Africans need to reach for a dictionary to understand court judgments, then the law remains inaccessible.
This is according to a legal professor who has pleaded with judges to stop using confusing and complex language in their judgments.
Professor Omphemetse Sibanda has written an interesting opinion piece on the Daily Maverick on this matter.
Sibanda says even some of the greatest legal minds are often perplexed by what he calls "vanity judgments" handed down in SA courts.
He argues that judgments need to be delivered in simple language and languages other than English so that South Africans can have access to the law.
Sibanda says important judgments that affect social rights, in particular, should be couched in clear and simple terms.
There are many debates about reforming legal terminology and the manner in which judgments should be written.— Omphemetse Sibanda, Professor of Law - University of Limpopo
If you are not writing judgment in a language that is clear, accessible and understandable to the people, then you are losing them in the process.— Omphemetse Sibanda, Professor of Law - University of Limpopo
Listen to him justify his argument:
This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Court judgments need to be clear and understandable, argues legal professor