oa Codicillus - The right to address the court in the language of one's choice

Volume 44, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-020X



In this article the author discusses the right of an accused person to address the court in the language of his or her choice. She argues that court proceedings must be conducted in a language that the accused person understands so that such person may properly understand the proceedings. She examines the relevant provisions of the South African constitution in this regard and traces the rights of linguistic minorities through case law, both in South Africa and foreign jurisdictions, in particular the Canadian approach. She concludes that the accused has a fundamental right to be tried in a language which he or she understands if justice is truly to be achieved in a multicultural, multilingual country such as South Africa.

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