n English in Africa - Revelation and legitimation in Albie Sachs's

Volume 40, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0376-8902



The judicial memoir is a paradoxical genre, since "the judicial role demands concealment and suppression of precisely those personal aspects of life which an autobiography exposes to view" (Ray 707). Tension arises between the ethical obligations of disinterestedness, impartiality and confidentiality imposed on judges, and the revelatory impulse animating autobiography. Vexed and politically charged questions concerning propriety confront judges embarking on autobiographical ventures. To what extent is it acceptable for a judge to make public information, or opinions, relating to colleagues on the Bench, or to cases heard and judgments rendered (either by the author or by his/her peers), or to the workings of courts in which he or she has presided? Is it appropriate to disclose information about the author's private life or his political commitments? May judges pronounce publicly on the nature of the judicial function?

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