n South African Law Journal - The evolution of the rule of law : notes

Volume 130, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



The judgment of the Constitutional Court in 2013 (1) SA 248 (CC) might bear some political significance given the identity of the litigants. Yet the decision is of wider legal importance. For in deciding the case, the court sought to clarify and further develop a foundational constitutional principle whose scope of application extends far beyond the context of this particular dispute. The principle in question is the baseline or safety-net constitutional requirement of rationality, according to which every exercise of public power must be rationally related to a legitimate government purpose. It is now accepted that rationality is required by the principle of legality, which in turn is a doctrine derived from of the constitutional value of the rule of law (see 1999 (1) SA 374 (CC) paras 56-8 and 2000 (2) SA 674 (CC) para 85).

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