oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The characteristic features of Southern African law

Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



All the countries in Southern Africa share a similar general law which is a mixture of pre-codal Civil law - the Roman-Dutch version - and Common law - the English version. Since there are no ideological differences between Roman-Dutch law and English law, the mixture is basically one of problem-solving techniques. But the mixed character of the legal systems forming the Southern African Law Association is more involved than this, for within these systems operates indigenous African law which differs not only technically but also ideologically from the imported Western general law. Although indigenous African law is subordinate to the general Western law, socially it forms an important part of the overall Southern African legal fabric. The author stresses the need to include all aspects of the Southern African socialist legal values as part of a comparative legal course in every law school in Africa.

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