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Sandile Ngcobo
Sandile Ngcobo

South Africa

Nominated as Chief Justice of South Africa.


More by user: Eds
Created: 6th Aug 2009
Modified: 6th Aug 2009
Professional Information
Employer:
Constitutional Court of South Africa
Position:
Judge
Working primarily in:
South Africa

Description of Work:

Justice Sandile Ngcobo was born in Durban on 1 March 1953. He is married to Zandile and they have three children: a daughter, Nokwanda, and two sons, Ayanda and Manqoba.

Education

In 1975 Ngcobo graduated from the University of Zululand with a B Proc, earning distinctions in constitutional law, mercantile law and accounting. From 1983 to 1985 he studied for an LLB at the University of Natal, Durban.

In 1985 he completed an orientation course on the United States' legal system, given by the International Law Institute at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington DC. From 1985 to 1986 he attended Harvard Law School, where he studied for an LLM. He concentrated on constitutional law, labour law, international legal process and international human rights.

Ngcobo was the beneficiary of a scholarship from Barclays Bank between 1973 and 1976. In 1985 he was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and in 1986 he was the recipient of a Harvard Law School Human Rights Fellowship.

Professional history

Ngcobo was in detention from 1976 to July 1977. From September 1977 to April 1978 he worked in the Maphumulo magistrate's office.

Ngcobo then joined KK Mthiyane and Company, a law firm in Durban. As an articled clerk and then as an associate attorney, he performed general law office work - such as registering corporations, advising corporate directors, administering deceased persons' estates and conducting criminal and civil trials.

In 1982 he moved to the Legal Resources Centre, also in Durban. Here, as an attorney at law, he tried public-interest civil and criminal cases involving issues such as the ejection of tenants from townships; the forced removal of black communities to homelands; influx control laws; police torture and assault; wrongful detentions; labour disputes; and the eviction of black squatters.

His Supreme Court experience involved preparing pleadings and briefs, and preparing cases for trial and appeal. Cases involved the unlawful transfer of teachers, the cancellation of black pupils' matriculation results and the cancellation of medical students' scholarships.

Then, from July 1986 to July 1987, Ngcobo spent a year as the law clerk and research associate of the late Honourable A Leon Higginbotham Jr, the former Chief Judge of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Ngcobo's duties included researching and preparing legal memoranda on issues before the court. He also researched the role of law in American and South African societies, and, in particular, its use to perpetuate and eradicate social injustice.

Ngcobo also helped teach a seminar titled "Race Values and the American Legal Process" at the University of Pennsylvania, at Harvard Law School and at Stanford Law School.

From August to November 1987 Ngcobo was a visiting foreign attorney at Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He specialised in labour law.

At the beginning of 1988 he returned to South Africa and took up the post of acting director of the Legal Aid Services Clinic of the University of Natal, Durban. From August of that year he taught a course on race legislation, also at the University of Natal.

From December 1988 to November 1989 he practised as an advocate in Durban. But in December 1989 he returned to Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz in Philadelphia, where he was an associate attorney in a firm of about 300 lawyers. He specialised in labour and immigration law.

In 1992 Ngcobo returned to South Africa and practised as an advocate in Durban. His focus was labour and employment law, constitutional law and general practice. In 1994 he lectured part-time in constitutional litigation.

From April 1996 to the end of August that year, Ngcobo was an acting judge of the Supreme Court, Cape of Good Hope Provincial Division. In September 1996 he was made a judge of the same division. From January to December 1997 he was an acting judge of the Labour Appeal Court; in November that year he was appointed a judge of the court.

In 1999 Ngcobo was appointed the acting Judge President of the Labour Court and Labour Appeal Courts.

Other activities

Ngcobo was a member of the Industrial Court of KwaZulu in 1993. In the same year he was also the co-ordinator of the Equal Opportunities Project of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies at the University of Natal, Durban.

In 1994 he was a presiding officer of the Independent Election Commission's Electoral Tribunal. Ngcobo was also appointed to serve on the amnesty committee of the Truth And Reconciliation Commission in February 1998.

He has served as a member and as the chairperson of the Rules Board for Courts of Law. In February 1999 the University of Cape Town made him an honorary professor of law.

Ngcobo has published many papers on topics such as justice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, housing segregation and gender equality.

He is a trustee of the Dehler Foundation and is a former trustee of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies.

South African Constitutional Court website


Biographical Information
Sandile Ngcobo
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Mar/1/1953
Gender: male
Place of Origin: South Africa

Biography published by the South African presidency upon nominated as Chief Justice


CV of JUSTICE S. SANDILE NGCOBO

EDUCATION

1975 B Proc (Bachelor of Law)
University of Zululand
Empangeni, South Africa
Distinctions in Constitutional Law, Mercantile Law and Accounting

1985 LL B (Bachelor of Laws)
University of Natal
Durban, South Africa

1985 Georgetown Law Centre
(Summer) International Law Institute
Washington, DC, USA
Certificate course in United States Legal System

1986 LL M (Master of Laws)
Harvard University School of Law
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Concentration: Constitutional Law, Labour Law, International Legal Process, and International Human Rights

LEGAL EXPERIENCE (SUMMARY)

• Admitted as an attorney in 1981
• Law Clerk to the late The Hon. A. Leon Higginbotham Jr., former Chief Judge of the Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, USA, 1986-1987
• Admitted as an Advocate in 1988
• Judge, Industrial Court, 1993
• IMSSA Mediator in Community Conflict
• IMSSA Labour Arbitrator and Mediator
• Part-time lecturer on Constitutional Litigation, University of Natal, Durban
• Judge of the Western Cape High Court ,1996 -1999
• Judge of the Labour Appeal Court, 1997-1999
• Judge on the Amnesty Committee of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,1998-1999
• Member and later Chairperson of Rules Board for Courts of Law, 1998 - 2004
• Acting Judge President of Labour Court and Labour Appeal Court, 1999
• Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, 1999 - Present
• Visiting Professorship:
o Columbia Law School - Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law, Fall 2006, October 2007and October 2008
o Harvard Law School - April 2008 and April 2009
• Harvard Law School, Dean David Smith Lecture Series, Fall 2006
• Yale University School of Law, Seminar on Global Constitutionalism, September 2006

LEGAL EXPERIENCE

CIVIL SERVICE

1977-1978 Magistrates Office
Maphumulo, South Africa
Clerk of Civil and Criminal Courts and later Public Prosecutor

PRIVATE PRACTICE

1978 -1982 K.K Mthiyane and Company
Durban, South Africa
Articled clerk and later Associate Attorney
Admitted as an attorney in 1981

1982 -1985 Legal Resources Centre
Durban, South Africa
Attorney at Law

1986 - 1987 United States Court of Appeal for the Third Circuit
Chambers of the late former Chief Judge, The Honourable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.
Law Clerk

1986 - 1987 University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Research Associate to the late The Honourable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. Researched the role of law in American and South African societies, in particular, its use to perpetuate and eradicate racial and social injustice.

Teaching Associate law seminar: “Race Values and the American Legal Process”. Assisted in teaching the same course at Harvard and Stanford Law Schools

1987 Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Visiting Foreign Attorney

1988 Legal Aid Services Clinic, University of Natal
(Jan to June) Durban, South Africa
Acting Director

1988-1996 P ractising Advocate
Admitted as an advocate in 1988
Durban, South Africa
Labour, Employment and Constitutional Law

1989-1992 Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Associate Attorney

JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS

1993 Industrial Court
South Africa
Presiding Officer

1994 Independent Electoral Commission
Presiding Officer

1996-1999 Western Cape High Court
Judge

1997-1999 Labour Appeal Court
Judge and later Acting Judge President

1998 -1999 Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Judge, Amnesty Committee

1999- Constitutional Court of South Africa
Present Justice


ACADEMIC APPOINTMENTS

1988 University of Natal
Durban, South Africa
Part-time Lecturer
Race Legislation

1995 University of Natal
Durban, South Africa
Part-time lecturer
Constitutional Litigation

Fall 2001 New York University School of Law
New York, New York, USA
Visiting Scholar
Researching Court Administration and Rulemaking authority

Columbia Law School
New York, New York, USA

Fall 2006 Samuel Rubin Visiting Professor of Law
October 2007 Visiting Professor
October 2008 Visiting Professor
Teaching a Seminar on Judicial Enforcement of Socio-economic Rights

Harvard University School of Law
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Fall 2006 Dean David Smith Lecture Series
April 2008 Visiting Professor
April 2009 Visiting Professor
Teaching a Seminar on Judicial Enforcement of Socio-economic Rights

Sept 2006 Yale University School of Law
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Participant
Seminar on Global Constitutionalism

MEMBERSHIPS

1993-1998 Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, University of Natal
Equal Opportunities Project
Trustee, Co-ordinator

1998-2004 Rules Board for Courts of Law
Member and later Chairperson

OTHER EXPERIENCE

1975 Barclays National Bank
Bank Clerk

PUBLICATIONS

“Delivery of Justice: Agenda for Change,” The South African Law Journal, Volume 120, Part 4, 2003 at p. 688.

“Truth, justice, and amnesty in South Africa: Sins from the Past and Lessons for the Future” in lus Gentium, (Journal of the University of Baltimore Center for International and Comparative Law) Volume 8, Fall 2002, at p. 1.

“The meaning of Article 4(1) of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women: a South African perspective”, a paper presented at an expert meeting of the UN on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) held in Valkenburg (Netherlands) 10-12 October 2002. The paper is now published in a book: Temporary Special Measures, Edited by Boerefinjn and Others published by Intersentia, New York.

“De Jure Housing Segregation in the United States and South Africa: The Difficult Pursuit for Racial Justice”, with the late The Honourable A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr. And Prof. F. Michael Higginbotham, published in the University of Illinois Law Review, Volume 1990, Number 4, at p. 763.

Co- authored a chapter on “Introduction to the Employment and Immigration Laws of the US for the Foreign Investor”, in a book titled “Business Opportunities in the United States: The Complete Reference Guide to Practices and Procedures” Edited by R.F. Cushman & R. Lawrence Soares, published by Richard D. Irwin Inc., May 1992.

“Administration of Black Townships”, Para-Legal Manual (Durban: Legal Resources Centre, 1982).

OTHER LAW RELATED ACTIVITIES

• Keynote addresses on the Role of the Judiciary in the Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights in Dublin, Cambridge and New York.

• Conducting seminars on Judgment writing for magistrates in KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Cape, North West and Western Cape.

• Conducting seminars on Judgment Writing for newly appointed and aspirant judges.

• Translation of the Rules of the Constitutional Court into other languages.

• Regular guest on a phone-in Sunday Educational programme – Umthethosisekelo ran by Ukhozi FM in 1994.

• Elected by the Second Conference of Judges to establish a committee that will give effect to and monitor the implementation of decisions taken at the Conference.

FELLOWSHIPS/SCHOLARSHIPS

1973-1976 Barclays Bank Scholarship
1985-1986 Fulbright Scholarship
1986 Harvard Law School Human Rights Fellowship

AREAS OF INTEREST

Comparative Constitutional Law, Role of the Judiciary in the Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights, and International Public Law.

PERSONAL

DATE OF Born March 1, 1953, Durban, South Africa
BIRTH

MARITAL Married to Zandile Ngcobo
STATUS

CHILDREN One daughter, Nokwanda, and two sons, Ayanda and Manqoba

DETENTION 1976-1977


 

 



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Nominated as Chief Justice of South Africa.

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