1887

n South African Journal on Human Rights - Closing the doors of justice : an examination of the Constitutional Court's approach to direct access, 1995-2013 : political rights since 1994 focus

USD

 

Abstract

Across the developing world one of the structural mechanisms adopted to facilitate access to courts is enabling direct access to the highest court. Recognising the role that direct access can play to advance access to justice, the South African Constitution allows direct access to the Constitutional Court when it is in the interests of justice. Somewhat surprisingly given this formal acknowledgment of the potential public interest served through direct access, there has been no comprehensive analysis of the Constitutional Court's direct access practice. This article fills this gap by evaluating - from a pro-poor perspective - the court's approach to direct access. It does so by first outlining the applicable rules and principles governing direct access applications. It then examines the court's direct access record between 1995 and 2013 highlighting that, in stark contrast to the highest courts in other developing countries, the South African Constitutional Court has interpreted its direct access mandate conservatively, seeking to restrict rather than to expand direct access. Thereafter, the article analyses the arguments against and for direct access, before concluding that the court's conservative approach weakens its position in terms of popularising the Constitution and acting as an institutional voice for the poor.

Loading

Article metrics loading...

/content/ju_sajhr/31/1/EJC169819
2015-01-01
2016-12-05
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error