Arthur Chaskalson

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Arthur Chaskalson "was born in Johannesburg on 24 November 1931. He is married to Dr Lorraine Chaskalson and they have two children, Matthew and Jerome.

"Chaskalson was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in May 1956 and took silk in July 1971. During his career at the Bar he appeared as counsel for members of the liberation movements in several major political trials - including the Rivonia Treason Trial, which led to the conviction and imprisonment of Nelson Mandela and other leaders of the African National Congress. He also appeared in major commercial disputes.

"In 1978 he helped establish the Legal Resources Centre, a non-profit organisation that seeks to use the law to pursue justice and human rights in South Africa. He was its director from November 1978 until September 1993, and was leading counsel in several cases in which the centre launched challenges against apartheid laws...

"He was a member of the board of the Faculty of Law of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1979 to 1999, was an honorary professor of law there from 1981 to 1995 and was a member of the board of its Centre for Applied Legal Studies from 1979 to 1994.

"He was a member of the National Council of Lawyers for Human Rights from 1980 to 1991 and was the chairperson of the Rhodes Scholarship Selection Committee for South Africa from 1988 to 1993.

"Chaskalson has been a member of the Judicial Service Commission since 1994 (and is now its chairperson) and has been the joint honorary president of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa since 1994.

"He was elected an honorary member of the Bar Association of the City of New York in 1985, of the Boston Bar Association in 1991 and of the Johannesburg Bar in 2002.

"Chaskalson was a visiting professor at Columbia University in New York from 1987 to 1988 and again in 2004, was the vice-chairperson of the International Legal Aid Division of the International Bar Association from 1983 until 1993, is the president of the International Commission of Jurists and is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

"South Africa selected him to be one of its four members of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 1999. In 2001 he was appointed by the United Nations as an ad hoc judge of the Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

"Chaskalson was a consultant to the Namibian Constituent Assembly in connection with the drafting of the Constitution of Namibia (in 1989 and 1990), was a consultant to the ANC on constitutional issues (1990 to 1994) and served as a member of the Technical Committee on Constitutional Issues - appointed by the Multiparty Negotiating Forum in May 1993 to give it advice and to draft the interim Constitution.

"In June 1994 President Mandela appointed Chaskalson the first president of South Africa's new Constitutional Court. On 22 November 2001 he became the Chief Justice of South Africa." [1]

Resources and articles


  1. JUSTICE ARTHUR CHASKALSON - Chief Justice of South Africa, Constitutional Court of South Africa, accessed July 7, 2007.
  2. Trustees, Nelson Mandela Children's Foundation, accessed March 11, 2010.