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Vol 22 No 2 Feb/March 2017

Book of the Month

Cover of Spencer Bower: Reliance-Based Estoppel

Spencer Bower: Reliance-Based Estoppel

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The Politics of Principle: The First South African Constitutional Court, 1995-2005

ISBN13: 9781107013643
Published: March 2013
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Paperback
Price: £88.00
Paperback edition , ISBN13 9781107619067

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Under its first chief justice, Arthur Chaskalson, the South African Constitutional Court built an unrivalled reputation in the comparative constitutional law community for technically accomplished and morally enlightened decision-making. At the same time, the Court proved remarkably effective in asserting its institutional role in post-apartheid politics. While each of these accomplishments is noteworthy in its own right, the Court's simultaneous success in legal and political terms demands separate investigation. Drawing on and synthesising various insights from judicial politics and legal theory, this study offers an interdisciplinary explanation for the Chaskalson Court's achievement. Rather than a purely political strategy of the kind modelled by rational choice theorists, the study argues that the Court's achievement is attributable to a series of adjudicative strategies in different areas of law. In combination, these strategies allowed the Court to satisfy institutional norms of public reason-giving while at the same time avoiding political attack.

South Africa, Other Jurisdictions
1. The Chaskalson Court's achievement
2. A conceptual framework for assessing the performance of constitutional courts in interdisciplinary terms
3. Operationalising the conceptual framework to explain the Court's achievement
4. The political context for judicial review, 1995-2005
5. Constraints and opportunities: the law/politics distinction in South African legal-professional culture
6. Death, desire and discrimination: the Chaskalson Court between constitutional and positive morality
7. Social rights
8. Property rights
9. Political rights
10. Cross-cutting strategies
11. Conclusion.