Finalists: Bowmans (Highly Commended); Dentons; ENSafrica; GLA – Gabinete Legal Angola (PLMJ Network); TTA – Sociedade de Advogados (PLMJ Network); Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie; Webber Wentzel
Ian Levitt Attorneys received the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Team of the Year award for its work in helping remove the time limit for victims of sexual assault to report abuse. The so-called Frankel Eight case centred around eight people who alleged to have been assaulted by the late billionaire Sidney Frankel more than two decades ago.
Under prior South African law, victims had to bring sexual or indecent assault charges within 20 years of the crime taking place. Levitt successfully argued that this prescription period was unconstitutional given that a time limit does not apply to other offences such as murder or genocide or rape, and therefore infringed on victims’ right to dignity (among other rights). In May, a Johannesburg High Court judge ruled in the victims’ favour, declaring that section 18 of the Criminal Procedure Act was inconsistent with the constitution. That verdict was not just a win for the firm’s clients but it was also widely lauded by advocacy groups as a human rights victory for children, women and all victims of abuse.
“The pinnacle of excellence. Taking a stand, helping true victims get justice, the essence of what true legal expertise is about,” enthused one judge.
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