Perspectives on the best interests of the child : developments in the interpretation and application of the principle in the South African law relating to custody

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dc.contributor.advisor Human, C. S.
dc.contributor.author Basson, Lindinette
dc.contributor.other University of Stellenbosch. Faculty of Law. Dept. of Private Law.
dc.date.accessioned 2011-12-06T06:11:19Z
dc.date.available 2011-12-06T06:11:19Z
dc.date.issued 2004-04
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/18091
dc.description Thesis (LLM )-- Stellenbosch University, 2004. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa entrenches the best interests of the child as being of paramount importance in all matters concerning the child. This commitment to the promotion of the welfare of children is not unique to modern South African law, but is an acknowledged principle of the common law and international child law as well. With such well-established recognition the question, which forms the primary focus of this study, arises whether the principle of the best interests of the child is workable and applicable in real life scenarios where the custody of a child has to be decided. The challenge to the application of the principle in this context is to reach a decision that will protect the parent-child relationship regardless of the marital breakdown. The question is whether the principle allows for and creates an honest awareness of and commitment to the welfare of children that influence decisions in this context or whether courts and decision-makers merely pay lip service to it in order to conceal the haphazard way in which custody is awarded. In order to determine the workability and applicability of the principle, it is necessary to know how the principle has evolved in the South African legal context. Through the examination and analysis of existing literature, international conventions, legislation and case law, a number of different perspectives on the developments in the interpretation and application of the principle are provided. These perspectives culminate in the useful and constructive insight and conclusion that the value of the concept is dependant upon the correct approach to the principle and its characteristics. The defining characteristic of the principle of the best interests of the child is its inherent vagueness and indeterminacy. Though this subjects the principle to serious criticism, this study supports the argument that indeterminacy is in fact essential. It ensures not only the flexibility of the concept, rendering it applicable to the time, cultural sphere and social context and unique circumstances of each case it is applied to, but a holistic approach to the child as individual and family as a unit as well. This holistic approach forms the foundation of the lists of criteria in McCall v McCall 1994 (3) SA 201 (C) and the Children's Bill, thereby establishing the workability and value of the principle for fair and just results in all decisions pertaining to the custody of children. en_ZA
dc.description.abstract AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:Die Grondwet van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika verskans die beste belange van die kind as van deurslaggewende belang in elke aangeleentheid rakende die kind. Die verbintenis tot die bevordering van die belange van kinders is nie 'n verskynsel uniek aan die moderne Suid-Afrikaanse reg nie, maar is 'n erkende beginsel in beide die gemenereg en die internasionale kinderreg. Met hierdie wyd-verspreide en algemene erkenning ontstaan die vraag, wat dan ook die primêre fokus van hierdie studie vorm, of die beginsel van die beste belang van die kind werkbaar en toepaslik is in ware lewensdramas waar 'n beslissing oor die bewaring van 'n kind gemaak moet word. Die uitdaging vir die toepassing van die beginsels in hierdie konteks is om 'n besluit te neem wat die voortbestaan van die ouer-kindverhouding ten spyte van die verbrokkeling van die huwelik sal verseker. Die vraag is of die beginsel werklik 'n eerlike bewussyn van en verbintenis tot die welstand van kinders skep wat die besluitnemingsproses in hierdie konteks beïnvloed en lei en of howe en besluitnemers bloot die regte lippetaal gebruik om die lukrake manier waarop besluite geneem word te verbloem. Om die werkbaarheid en toepasbaarheid van die beginsel te bepaal is dit nodig om die proses van evolusie van die beginsel in die Suid-Afrikaanse reg onder oënskou te neem. Deur die ondersoek en analise van bestaande literatuur, internationale konvensies, wetgewing en hofuitsprake word 'n aantal perspektiewe op ontwikkelinge in die interpretasie en toepassing van die beginsel voorgelê. Hierdie perspektiewe lei tot die betekenisvolle en opbouende gevolgtrekking en insig dat die waarde van die konsep afhang van 'n korrekte benadering tot die beginsel en sy kenmerke. Die hoofkenmerk van die beste belange van die kind beginsel is die inherente vaagheid en ondefinieerbaarheid daarvan. Hoewel dit die beginsel aan ernstige kritiek onderwerp, ondersteun hierdie studie die argument dat die onbepaaldheid in der waarheid noodsaaklik is. Dit verseker nie alleen buigsaamhied, wat toepassing op alle tye in alle kulturele en sosiale omgewings en besondere omstandighede van 'n spesifieke geval moontlik maak nie, maar ook dat 'n holistiese benadering tot die kind as individue en die gesin as eenheid gevolg word. Hierdie holistiese benadering vorm die grondslag van die lyste van faktore in McCall v McCall 1994 (3) SA 201 (C) en die Wetsontwerp op Kinders 2003 waarmee die werkbaarheid en waarde van die beginsel vir billike en regverdige resultate in alle aangeleenthede rakende die bewaring van kinders verseker kan word. af_ZA
dc.language.iso en_ZA en_ZA
dc.publisher Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Custody of children -- Law and legislation -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Domestic relations -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.subject.lcsh Parent and child (Law) -- South Africa en_ZA
dc.title Perspectives on the best interests of the child : developments in the interpretation and application of the principle in the South African law relating to custody en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA
dc.rights.holder Stellenbosch University en_ZA


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