s South African Journal on Human Rights - The Politics of Principle : The First South African Constitutional Court, 1995-2005, Theunis Roux : book review

Volume 31, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-7203
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2126



authored by Theunis Roux (2013) seeks to explain the success of South Africa's Constitutional Court in legal and political terms. The author has selected for review the period during which the court was under the leadership of its first chief justice, and former president of the Constitutional Court, Arthur Chaskalson. This period begins on 14 February 1995, when the court was established under the interim Constitution, until Justice Chaskalson's retirement on 31 May 2005. Roux's primary aim is to examine how the 'Chaskalson court' (a term coined by the author) was able to achieve both legal and political successes simultaneously. Although the court was established during a period of great political uncertainty, Roux argues that the Chaskalson court was able to strike a remarkable balance - the court's legal decisions did not result in political interference, nor did politics influence the court's decision-making processes.

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