Jody Kollapen is an acting Justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa from July 2017 and has served as a Judge of the High Court of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria, since 2011. He is also the Chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission. Prior to his appointment as a Judge, Justice Kollapen served as the head of the South African Human Rights Commission.
Justice Kollapen previously practised as an attorney and joined the organisation, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) where he coordinated the “Release Political Prisoners” programme, which championed for the rights of political prisoners. In 1995, he was appointed National Director. While working as an attorney he worked on important cases such as Sharpeville Six and the Delmas Treason Trial. He was also a member of the selection panel that chose the Commissioners for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As a High Court Judge, some of Justice Kollapen’s celebrated judgments include Hennie and Others v Minister of Correctional Services and Others in which he granted an urgent interdict allowing prisoners to use laptops in their cells for study purposes.
Justice Kollapen also presided in the Limpopo textbooks case in which he reprimanded the National Education Department and its Limpopo counterpart for its failure to deliver textbooks to schools in the province and handed down a structural order outlining deadlines for textbook deliveries. Justice Kollapen has previously served as a lecturer at the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria. Moreover, he has served on the board of many civil society organisations, including the Legal Resources Centre, the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, IDASA, and the London based Article 19.