Former Cape High Court Advocate Alan Nelson nominated to be the next Chief Justice

Former Cape High Court Advocate Alan Nelson nominated to be the next Chief Justice
Johannesburg – Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call for South Africans to nominate candidates to replace Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, the Restoration Foundation has nominated Senior Advocate Alan Nelson to the position. His Excellency President Cyril Ramaphosa has invited non-governmental organisations to nominate candidates. The Restoration Foundation being a qualified non-governmental organisation has nominated Advocate Alan Nelson SC. Restoration Foundation was formed by group of Christians from different backgrounds who desire, under God, to promote and implement, in love, the restoration of dignity for all people who live in South Africa who have been victims of unjust, racially based laws that have resulted in the deprivation of their self-worth (Mat. 22: 39; Neh. 5: 11).
Advocate Nelson has accepted the nomination on the basis that he be allowed to transform the way in which conflict is resolved in South Africa to ensure that consensual conflict resolution through mediation becomes the primary mechanism for the resolution of conflict in South Africa. He qualified as a lawyer in 1975, attaining his BA LLB Law degree, Cum Laude, at Stellenbosch University, after which he qualified as an Attorney before becoming an Advocate in 1978. Silk status was conferred upon him in 1993 and he has been a Senior Advocate for more than twenty years. Alan recently acted as a judge of the Cape High Court.
Alan completed the Conflict Dynamics Mediation course in May 2012 and is an accredited CEDR mediator and has since undergone specialist mediation training in Switzerland. He currently trains mediators at the University of Cape Town and is a co-founder of the ‘MiM Peace and Mediation Training Centre’, where specialist mediators are trained under the auspices of UCT to conduct mediation in specialist fields.
Alan serves on three mediation panels and is an elected member of the ADR Forum of the Western Cape Government. He recently co-founded ‘Mediation in Motion’ a not for profit company that promotes mediation and links those in need to specialist mediators free of charge via an innovative electronic process. He frequently addresses audiences on mediation. Since qualifying as a mediator four years ago, Alan has been involved in a large number of mediations, either as mediator or assisting parties to the dispute.
As an advocate he was, by his own admission, an aggressive trial lawyer who believed that his contribution towards promoting justice lay in fighting hundreds of cases for clients to the best of his ability. Alan took silk in 1993. He specialised in commercial and administrative law and was very successful so much so that he was able to acquire and to develop a bankrupt farm into what is today one of South Africa’s leading wine estates.
The Nelson Wine Estate is currently run by his daughter Lisha, who is an internationally acclaimed champion wine maker. In 1996 he donated 13 hectares of his prime land to his farm workers, and they became the first workers to produce wine from grapes grown on their own land for the international market.
Advocate Nelson has been elected to numerous leadership roles, including Deputy Junior Mayor of Johannesburg, Chairperson of the Juridical Society and Head of House at Stellenbosch University, Founder of the Mediation Foundation for Peace and Justice and The Nelson Peace Centre, Chairperson of Mediation in Motion NPO, Mediation Director of SAMLA, Vice President of Mediation in Motion Mediators NPO and founder member of the Restoration Foundation.
As a founder member of the Restoration Foundation, Uncle Alan, as he is fondly referred to by members of the Foundation, has demonstrated a keen desire to be involved in activities for the restoration of the dignity of all South Africans. He is currently involved in the design of a dignity training program for school children. He has also been involved in various activities that are designed to restore the dignity of our countries First Nation People, details of which appear from a letter of support from their leaders.
Two years ago, Advocate Nelson led a team of lawyers that instituted a case in the Western Cape High Court that culminated in the Constitutional Court finding that the Electoral Act was unconstitutional since it did not allow independent candidates to stand for election to provincial and national legislatures unless they were members of political parties. In the process he has played a significant role in bringing about vital changes to South Africa’s political system.
His arguments before the Constitutional Court emphasised the need for our political system to be changed to recognise and to promote the dignity of every adult citizen of our country in accordance with the fundamental prescripts of the Constitution. Advocate Nelson believes that for the same reasons our judicial system also needs to be changed dramatically to make consensual conflict resolution the primary way in which disputes are resolved. Since mediation costs a fraction of what litigation does and is far better able to produce just outcomes expeditiously Alan believes that this will result in far more people being given access to justice. It will also enable every South African citizen and community to resolve their differences in a peaceful and dignified manner. Recent events in our country have again borne testimony to the urgent need for such change. Statement of Nomination: There can be no doubt that South Africa is in dire need of a legal system that is able to resolve conflict in an efficient, cost-effective, and peaceful manner.
The Restoration Foundation firmly believes that Advocate Nelson has the ability and the commitment to transform the way in which conflict is resolved in our country in a manner that achieves these objectives. If given the opportunity he will make justice accessible to all and above all will ensure that conflict is resolved in our country in a dignified manner.
The panel on the selection of the new chief justice includes former judge of the International Court of Justice and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, who will act as chair of the panel; Minister of Justice and Corrections Ronald Lamola; former justice minister Jeff Radebe; former public defender Thuli Madonsela; Chairman of the South African National AIDS Council Mmapaseka Steve Letsike; and professor of law at Howard Ziyad Motala University.
The inclusion of the public in the process of appointing a Chief Justice is a first for the country since the dawn of democracy since this decision was previously made by the President, after consultation with the Judicial Commission and the Chief parties represented in the National Assembly. Advocate Alan Nelson is truly an inspiration for all peace-loving South Africans.
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