n Law, Democracy & Development - Using courts of law to tackle poverty and social exclusion : the case of post-2010 Kenya

Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



Intellectual and political skepticism about the place of the courts in effecting social transformation is not uncommon. In , American scholar Gerald Rosenberg strongly criticised the famous US Supreme Court decision in and asserted that it was nearly impossible to generate significant social reforms through litigation, primarily because courts are relatively ineffective and weak. He also argued that courts pale into significance in comparison with other social and political forces, such as, a reforming parliament, a foresighted Executive or a determined civil society. Just as Hitler asked the Pope: "where are your battalions?" courts lack the financial muscle or the political authority to effect change on their own, thereby attracting a similar kind of cynicism and doubt.

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