The Dignity Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South Africa: Cases and Materials

The Dignity Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South Africa: Cases and Materials

The Dignity Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South Africa: Cases and Materials

The Dignity Jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South Africa: Cases and Materials

Synopsis

Since the Second World War, dignity has increasingly been recognized as an important moral and legal value. Although important examples of dignity-based arguments can be found in western European and North American case law and legal theory, the dignity jurisprudence of the Constitutional Court of South African is widely considered to be the most sweeping in the world. This book brings together the first sixteen years of constitutional jurisprudence addressing the meaning, role, and reachof dignity in the law of South Africa as a multiracial democracy.

Excerpt

This book presents the Dignity Jurisprudence of South Africa’s Constitutional Court from 1995 to 2008. To that end, this book contains four critical essays, forty summaries of what we believe to be the most important dignity-related legal cases (they capture the facts and legal history of each), and reduced versions of the most important opinions in those cases.

The Dignity Jurisprudence of South Africa may well be one of the most sophisticated and important contributions of the Constitutional Court to International Constitutional Law. Dignity, of course, is also an important ideal, value, and right in other constitutional democracies—it plays, for example, a pivotal role in the legal systems of Germany and Canada.

Dignity’s omnipresence in South African jurisprudence cannot be solely explained by its importance in the Western philosophical tradition (e.g., Kant) or its recognition in many post–World War ii international instruments and constitutions. in South Africa, our understanding of dignity is shaped and influenced by the African ethical notion of uBuntu. uBuntu—properly understood—demands the respect and the recognition of the dignity of all others. To demonstrate that the relationship between uBuntu and dignity is both rich and generative, a second casebook on uBuntuuBuntu and the Law: African Ideals and Postapartheid Jurisprudence, edited by Drucilla Cornell and Nyoko Muvangua—was published in 2012. If one still asks, “Why emphasize uBuntu in a casebook on Dignity?” our answer is twofold: uBuntu is an African ideal, and the South African Constitution is, indeed, an African constitution; respect for African ideals, notions of law, and conceptions of jurisprudence is long overdue.

We have chosen to present the cases chronologically, because of the importance of the very idea of transformative jurisprudence in a country that continues to undergo a substantive revolution. These cases take seriously the mandate that the Constitution of South Africa is to transform the new nation from one rooted in . . .

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