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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Between paradigms: differing perspectives on justice in Molepolole Botswana
Author:Griffiths, AnneISNI
Year:1996
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Issue:36
Pages:195-214
Language:English
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:conflict of laws
popular justice
Abstract:In the context of research carried out over a number of years (1982-1989) in Molepolole, in Kweneng District in the western region of Botswana, the author raises questions about the nature of popular justice and touches on the issue of gender which arises through the systematic constraints which operate on women in their dealings with men. In Molepolole the local courts are the Magistrate's Court and the Chief's 'kgotla'. Within the formal legal system of Botswana the former is designated a 'common law' forum in contrast to the latter, which is referred to as a 'customary law' forum. This corresponds to a dichotomy in the academic legal literature of the late 1960s and the 1970s between 'formal' or 'State' justice and 'informal' or 'popular' justice. However, the image of 'popular' justice in terms of the Chief's 'kgotla', as representing something 'other' than State justice, as more egalitarian and from which considerations of power and status are absent, cannot be upheld. The depiction of 'State' justice in terms of the Magistrate's Court, as representing an inaccessible and inflexible rule-based system of justice, is also untenable. Despite differences in their constitution both courts fall within the ambit of the 'State' and can be seen as representing 'State' interests at different levels. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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