n African Human Rights Law Journal - Interpreting rights globally : courts and constitutional rights in emerging democracies

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1609-073X
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2096



Democracy has spread over Africa and with it new constitutions with justiciable bills of rights have been accepted. The main focus of the article is on constitutional interpretation and how a constitution should be interpreted in view of the fact that a constitution, and especially the bill of rights, is not only made up of clear-cut rules, but also of ideals and principles. Purposive and creative interpretations are particularly needed in Africa's emerging democracies. Creative constitutional interpretations are further enhanced when courts engage in comparative constitutional analysis. The article gives examples of how courts around the world have used comparative case law. The author further defends the approach of comparative constitutionalism in the light of the objections that have been raised against it.

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