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RESUMÉ OF JUDGE J.D.G. (GERHARD) MARITZ

Personal details

Johannes Dawid Gerhardus (Gerhard) Maritz was born in the northern Namibian town of Otjiwarongo on 17 July 1953. After he had completed his studies, he and his wife, Conny, settled in Windhoek during 1978 where they have been resident ever since.

Education

He received primary and secondary education in his home town. He graduated from the University of Pretoria with a BA (Law) in 1975 and with an LLB in 1977.

Professional history

He lectured Customary Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria during the last two years of his studies.

After his graduation, he was admitted and enrolled as an advocate in 1978 and joined the Office of the then Attorney General as a public prosecutor in the Magistrate's and Regional Courts at Windhoek.

He left the Public Service during 1979 to enter into articles of clerkship and received 2 years practical training as an attorney's clerk with Stern & Barnard, a firm of attorney's practising in both criminal and commercial law at Windhoek. He was admitted and enrolled as an attorney of the Supreme Court of South West Africa/Namibia and of various divisions of the Supreme Court of South Africa during the beginning of 1981. He was invited to join the partnership shortly afterwards and continued to practise mainly commercial law at the side bar until February 1985.

He then joined the Society of Advocates of Namibia in March 1985 - first as a pupil member and, after he had sat for his admission examination, as a junior advocate. He practised with an increasing focus on civil and constitutional law at the Windhoek Bar until April 1996 when, shortly after fusion of the legal professions, he became the first legal practitioner after Independence upon whom the President of Namibia conferred the status of Senior Counsel. Except for the Court terms during which he served as an acting Judge of the High Court of Namibia (in 1996 and 1998), he continued to practise as Senior Counsel until July 1999.

On August 1, 1999, he was called to the Bench of the High Court of Namibia. He served as a Judge of the High Court (and also as an acting Judge of the Supreme Court in 1999-2000 and 2003-2005) until December 2005. On 1 January 2006 he was elevated to the Bench of the Supreme Court of Namibia.

Other related activities

During his years of practice, he served on numerous committees and controlling bodies, most notably as -

  • a member (1989-1993) and later Vice-President (1994-1995) of the Council of the Society of Advocates of Namibia;
  • Vice President (1995-1996) and President (1996-1997) of the Council of the Law Society of Namibia; and
  • a member of the Judicial Service Commission (1999).

He appeared in a number of important constitutional cases (mainly in Namibia but also in the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa) and in many other important (often reported) civil and criminal matters in the Superior Courts of the country. He was intimately involved as a legal advisor during various stages of the complex constitutional process leading up to Independence and also in the drafting of legislation to pave the way for the implementation of Security Counsel Resolution 435 of 1978; to create part of the framework within which to hold free and fair elections under United Nations supervision; to facilitate the creation of a structure to draft and adopt the Constitution of Namibia and to repeal existing racial and discriminatory legislation before Independence. He was legal counsel to one of the major political parties in the Constituent Assembly and advised it on the drafting of the Namibian Constitution.

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