oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The convergence of legal systems in Southern Africa

Volume 35, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



In this article, the integration of laws in Africa through unification, harmonisation or convergence is considered. With regard to the integration of the laws of different countries in southern Africa, reference is made to the countries belonging to the South African Law Association and the states of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Initially the legal systems of the former group of countries corresponded not only in ideology, method and approach, but also in content. As expected these laws started diverging when they were implemented and interpreted by their different national judicial institutions. Published material on SADC seems to be directed only at economic and international economic law or the enforcement of foreign judgments and the harmonisation of private law has so far not entertained much attention. In South Africa the natural convergence of the Indigenous African law and the imposed western law seems unlikely and harmonisation difficult because the multicultural legal community does not share common perceptions of the concept of law, a theory of valid legal sources, a legal methodology, a theory of argumentation and of legitimation of the law, or a common basic legal ideology.

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