End to 'lily white lordships' proposed
Cosatu wants a complete overhaul of the "colonial culture" in the courts, including the dumping of the terms "Your lordship" and "Your ladyship" when addressing judges.
"The languages used in courts and the experience of the bowing to judges, the gowns and calling judicial officers 'Your lordship' or 'Your ladyship' is not only intimidating to ordinary people but has its roots in colonial experiences and encounters," the trade union federation's draft resolutions document stated.
The federation is calling for the transformation of the judiciary.
In the document, which will be tabled for adoption at the end of the four-day congress tomorow, Cosatu reiterated its resentment of a "lily-white" judiciary.
It charges that the court system is anti-working class and should be replaced by a culture that is more empathetic to the working class.
The federation called for an end to the "elitist, patriarchal culture at our courts system and replacing it with a culture that is more welcoming and friendly to ordinary people".
It believes that transformation in the judicial system has been moving at a snail's pace.
Cosatu has proposed a periodic review of sitting judges, saying that a judge who regularly flouts the spirit of the constitution does not deserve to be on the bench.
If it has its way, Cosatu said, the Legal Aid Board would be consolidated into a public defence system that pays not only for legal services but provides bail.
This, it said, would ensure that the poor were not disadvantaged because of their inability to pay for legal representation.
Many awaiting-trial prisoners could not afford bail.