An advocate at the Johannesburg Bar for 25 years, prior to becoming a provincial and thereafter appellate judge, Judge Johann Christiaan Kriegler was appointed a Justice of the Constitutional Court on its foundation in 1994, a position he held until 2002. He headed the Independent Electoral Commission, which ran the country’s first democratic elections in 1994, and was instrumental in establishing the permanent electoral commission, which he chaired until 1999.

After leaving the Constitutional Court in 2002 he held a two-year acting judicial appointment chiefly engaged in judicial education (aspirant, induction and continuing for lower and superior courts) and the training of public prosecutors and practising advocates.  

Since then he has participated in numerous national and international judicial missions and has lectured on judicial and electoral matters in numerous countries throughout the world. Justice Kriegler has had a long and close relationship with the Centre for Human Rights where he lectures from time to time to students in the Masters course in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa programme. He has also served as a judge in the final round of the African Human Rights Moot Court Competition. He is an Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria and has been a Board Member at the Centre for Human Rights for many years.

Judge Kriegler has participated in a National Democratic Institute mission in Angola (1999), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) / International Bar Association (IBA) judicial independence missions in Palestine (2000), Malawi (2002) and Uganda (2007), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) judicial training in Namibia (2001), advocacy training in Lesotho (2001), the United Kingdom (2002), Hong Kong (2006) and South Africa (1983 to date), IBA judicial training for Iraq (2005) and Swaziland (2005) and IBA / South African Bar observer missions in Zimbabwe (2004), and been briefed by the United Nations Electoral Assistance Division on a number of election-related assignments (in Afghanistan, East Timor, Iraq, Liberia, Pakistan and Sierra Leone).

Judge Kriegler is the author of a standard textbook on criminal procedure and the co-drafter of a judicial code of conduct. He has lectured in recent years on judicial and electoral matters in Angola, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mexico, Namibia, the Netherlands, Palestine, South Africa, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, the United States, the West Indies, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Under the previous South African government, Judge Kriegler was involved in establishing various human rights and public interest advocacy bodies; he was involved with advocacy/transformation training with the Black Lawyers’ Association (BLA) from the early 1980s, founding chair of Lawyers for Human Rights (1981) and a founding trustee of the Legal Resources Centre (1978). At present he is an extraordinary professor in the University of Pretoria Law Faculty and a trustee of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Project Literacy (adult education), the University of Pretoria Centre for Human Rights and the AIDS Law Project, patron of Advocacy Training for the General Council of the Bar and chairperson of the Constitutional Court Trust.

Judge Kriegler is an honorary life member of the Johannesburg Bar and an honorary bencher of Gray’s Inn, London.


Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria.|Centre for Human Rights Board Members. Available at online. Accessed on 5 May 2014 | Constitutional Court of South Africa. Justice Johann Kriegler.  Available at online.  Accessed on 5 May 2014 |Who’swho Southern Africa.  Johann Kriegler .  Available at online.   Accessed on 5 May 2014  

Collections in the Archives