ATC101116: Report on Provisional suspension from office of Magistrate MN Jassiem

Justice and Correctional Services



6.     Report of the Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development on the suspension from office of Magistrate MN Jassiem, dated 16 November 2010:


The Portfolio Committee on Justice and Constitutional Development, having considered the report on the suspension of Magistrate MN Jassiem, an additional Magistrate at Mitchells Plain, reports as follows:


1)                  On 9 October 2006, 28 August 2007 and again 23 November 2009, Mr Jassiem wrote to the Magistrates Commission for approval to run his practice as an attorney while permanently appointed as a Magistrate.


2)                  At its meetings held on 23 August 2007, the Commission resolved not to approve Mr Jassiem’s request to be allowed to practise as an attorney. The Judicial Head of the Administrative Region was informed of the Commission’s resolution on 12 September 2007 and was asked to inform Mr Jassiem accordingly.


3)                  It appears that Mr Jassiem was duly notified of the Commission’s resolution. The Commission has, however, noted with concern that Mr Jassiem is apparently still practising as an attorney and that he is therefore deliberately in defiance of a decision by the Commission that he not allowed to practise as an attorney while holding the office of Magistrate.


4)                  From the contents of an affidavit dated 17 September 2009, received from the Senior Legal Officer of the Cape Law Society, it appears that:


·        Mr Jassiem ceased practising as an attorney on 9 October 2000 but recommenced to practise for own account as MN Jassiem and Associates from 1 November 2006.

·        He is the sole partner in the firm.

·        There are no other practitioners at the firm and that he personally applied for a Fidelity Fund Certificate for 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010.

·        He is in possession of a 2010 Fidelity Fund Certificate and that he submitted an unqualified trust account audit for the period ending 28 February 2009 for MN Jassiem and Associates.


5)                  After considering the contents of the affidavit and further correspondence received from the Cape Law Society, the Chairperson of the Commission directed the Secretariat to request Mr Jassiem to give reasons why he should not be charged with misconduct for deliberately defying a decision taken by the Commission on 23 August 2007. The Commission wrote to Mr Jassiem on 12 November 2009.


6)                  Mr Jassiem was charged with misconduct on 11 December 2009. The misconduct inquiry commenced on 26 April 2010. He elected to conduct his own defence.


7)                  Although Mr Jassiem initially pleaded guilty to the main charge, his plea was altered to one of not guilty as he indicated that he never ran any practice as an attorney but was doing conveyancing and estate administration.


8)                  In his judgment, the Presiding Officer found Mr Jassiem dishonest: He had misled the Cape Law Society indicating in writing on 8 October 2006 that he had the Commission’s permission to practise as an attorney. He had also misled his Judicial Head of Office and his conduct showed lack of integrity as an officer of the court.


9)                  After considering all the evidence presented before him, the Presiding Officer found Mr Jassiem guilty of misconduct on the main count and recommended that he be removed from office in terms of regulation of 26(17)(b) of the Regulations for Judicial Officers in the Lower Courts, 1994. The findings show Mr Jassiem’s lack of integrity and honesty and that he is, therefore, unsuited to hold the office of a Magistrate. Mr Jassiem was given an opportunity to furnish the Commission with written representations in respect of the sanction recommended by the Presiding Officer.


10)              At its meeting held on 26 August 2010, the Commission, having considered relevant documents as required in terms of regulation 26(22) read with regulation 26(19) of the Regulations for Judicial Officers in Lower Courts, 1994, the Commission resolved to accept the findings of the Presiding Officer and to recommend to the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to remove Mr Jassiem from office on the grounds of misconduct in terms of section 13(4)(a)(i) of the Magistrates Act, 1993.




Having considered the report on the suspension of Magistrate MN Jassiem, the Committee recommends that the National Assembly confirms the suspension.


Report to be considered. 



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