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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Community courts: official recognition and criminal jurisdiction: a comparative analysis
Author:Nel, SanetteISNI
Periodical:The Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:customary law
popular justice
Abstract:Since the 1940s community courts have developed in South Africa as alternative justice mechanisms in the black townships. They function as mechanisms for the speedy resolution of disputes as they are easily accessible, cheap and offer a simple form of administration of justice. The future regulation of these courts has recently become an issue. Against the background of the process of democratization and the constitution with its bill of rights, it has become necessary to evaluate the courts with the aim of adapting them to the changing circumstances. This paper looks briefly at the feasibility of granting community courts a measurable degree of legitimacy by developing an officially recognized system, and second, considers whether these courts should enjoy criminal jurisdiction, and if so, the restrictions which should be placed on such jurisdiction. These aspects are discussed with reference to comparative research into informal courts in other jurisdictions in the United States, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and India. Notes, ref.