Public interest standing in Bill of Rights litigation under the South African Constitution: Lessons from India

De Villiers, Kathryn Hofmeyr (2018-03)

Thesis (LLM)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Section 38(d) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, states that anyone acting in the public interest may approach a court for relief arising from the infringement or threatened infringement of a right in the Bill of Rights. This relaxed approach to locus standi permits litigants to act on behalf of sections of the public whose human rights have been infringed, whether or not the individual victims are aware of these violations or able to approach the court for relief themselves. A similar mechanism for approaching the courts in the public interest was introduced in India in the late 1970s, but this broadening of locus standi has over time extended beyond the objectives for which it was intended originally, with mixed results. After examining the history and background of the development of public interest standing in South Africa and India, the thesis proceeds to analyse the manner in which the courts have dealt with public interest standing in the respective jurisdictions. A study of case law, legislation and academic commentary dealing with this area of the law constitutes the basis for analysing the judicial management of public interest standing in these two jurisdictions. The thesis finds that South Africa has much to learn from both the advantages and pitfalls of the Indian experience of public interest standing. It concludes with recommendations on how public interest standing in South Africa could be strengthened, including identifying the most appropriate public interest representative, the management of public interest standing cases by the courts, the involvement of third parties, and potential legislative interventions.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Artikel 38(d) van die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika, 1996, bepaal dat enigeen wat in die openbare belang optree, 'n hof kan nader vir gepaste regshulp indien daar aangevoer word dat daar of `n skending van `n reg in die Handves van Regte dreig, of reeds `n skending plaasgevind het. Hierdie breë benadering tot locus standi stel litigante in staat om op te tree namens dele van die publiek wie se menseregte geskend is, ongeag of individuele slagoffers bewus is van hierdie oordtredings, of nie in ‘n posisie is om self die hof vir gepaste regshulp te kan nader nie. 'n Soortgelyke meganisme om die howe in die openbare belang te benader, is in die laat 1970's in Indië bekendgestel, maar hierdie uitbreiding van locus standi het met verloop van tyd verder uitgebrei, met gemengde resultate. Nadat die geskiedenis en agtergrond van die ontwikkeling van locus standi in die openbare belang in Suid-Afrika en Indië ondersoek is, analiseer hierdie tesis die benadering van howe in die onderskeie jurisdiksies ten opsigte van locus standi in die openbare belang. 'n Studie van regspraak, wetgewing en akademiese kommentaar, vorm die basis vir die ontleding van die regterlike prosese rakende locus standi in die openbare belang. Hierdie tesis bevind dat Suid-Afrika baie van die voordele en slaggate van die Indiese ervaring van locus standi in die openbare belang ervaar het. Dit sluit af met aanbevelings oor hoe locus standi in die openbare belang in Suid-Afrika versterk kan word, insluitende die identifisering van die mees toepaslike verteenwoordiger van die openbare belang, die bestuur van sake by die howe wat handel oor locus standi in die openbare belang, die betrokkenheid van derde partye en moontlike wetgewende ingrypings.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103616
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