oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - The thirty-three articles and the application of Law in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



The Thirty-Three Articles was adopted by the Potchefstroom Burgerraad on 9 April 1844 and confirmed four years later on 23 May 1849 by the unified Volksraad of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek at Derdepoort. The Thirty-Three Articles contained provisions pertaining to general and judicial administration and was held out as a kind of constitution in its day. It retained its status as a basic law despite the adoption of the constitutions of 1858, 1889 and 1896, and was only repealed in 1901 after the British annexation of the Republic. The Thirty-Three Articles had a lasting impact on the legal development of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. This contribution examines its nature and content, focusing in particular on article 31 which made provision for the law to be applied. Reference is made to three different approaches in the application of this provision by the courts.

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