Women and Justice: Court: Transvaal Supreme Court (Transvaal Hoofgeregs Hof)

Domestic Case Law

Schlesin v. Incorporated Law Society, 1909 TSC 363. Transvaal Supreme Court (Transvaal Hoofgeregs Hof) (1909)


Employment discrimination, Gender discrimination

In 1909, Judge Bristowe of the Transvaal Supreme Court presided over Schlesin v. Incorporated Law Society, the first case in South Africa to consider whether women had a right to enter the legal profession. The Transvaal Supreme Court held that women were barred from admission to legal practice based on historical practice in South Africa, Holland, and England. Judge Bristowe explained that the Interpretation of Laws Proclamation 15 of 1902 provided that “words of the masculine gender shall include females…unless contrary intention appears” and found that given long historical practice, it was evident that contrary intention did indeed appear in the legislation governing admission to the bar.

In 1909 het Regter Bristowe van die Transvaal se Hooggeregs Hof oor Schlesin v. Geinkorporeerde Regsvereniging voorgesit. Die hof het beslis dat vroue toegang tot die regspraktyk verbied word op grond van die historiese praktyk in Suid-Afrika, Holland en Engeland. Regter Bristowe het verduidelik dat die interpretasie van Wette- Proklamasie 15 van 1902 met dien verstande dat "woorde van die manlike geslag, vroulikes sal insluit ... tensy daar ‘n teenstrydige bedoeling is" en het gevind dat die gegewe lang historiese praktyke, was dit duidelik dat ‘n teenstrydige voorneme inderdaad verskyn in die wetgewing wat toelating tot die balie toelaat.