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n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - The private law, commercial law and public law contents of constitutional court orders from 1995 to 2012 (part 1)
On my count, the constitutional court considered approximately 460 applications between 1995 and the end of 2012. In 110 instances the court refused to consider the merits of applications and in respect of the remaining 350 applications, the court invalidated legal rules or actions by state organs and private individuals in 179 instances and refused to do so in 171 instances.
The influence of a court can emanate from many sources - for example, the contents of its judgments, the location and physical infrastructure of the court, the accessibility of the court in terms of costs, the way in which the court informs the public about its functioning, and the off-the-bench statements and behaviour of its members. At the same time, the influence could manifest itself in many ways - for example in the public attitude towards the court, the accessibility and comprehensibility of its judgments, the effect of its judgments on the achievement of national goals, and the international reputation of the court measured in terms of the qualitative nature of its judgments. However, probably the most direct impact a court has on the daily lives of the people is contained in the orders which the court issues in its judgments. In these orders particular legislative, administrative, executive and individual actions are approved or censured.
The purpose of this article is to provide an overview of the contents of constitutional court orders between 1995 and 2012. To what extent did the constitutional court invalidate legislative, executive, administrative and individual action and inaction and therefore command that such behaviour may not be repeated? And to what extent did the court maintain the status quo and refuse to interfere with legislative, executive, administrative and individual action?
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