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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 127162 Find in a Library
Title: Creating People's Justice: Street Committees and People's Courts in a South African City
Journal: Law and Society Review  Volume:24  Issue:3  Dated:(1990)  Pages:693-744
Author(s): S Burman; W Scharf
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 52
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: A dual system of colonial State and of non-state courts operate in the African townships of South Africa. This article uses the informal courts in Cape Town to address a number of questions about informal justice and to suggest elements of informal justice that may be useful in considering the infrastructure of the court system in a post-apartheid South Africa.
Abstract: The longstanding trends in the use of informal courts in South Africa are outlined and the complex history of the Cape Town townships are described. Their history has dictated the type of informal courts each has developed. The methods used to obtain the field data are listed and the field data itself is used to trace the development of two types of judicial structures and their related informal enforcement arms in the townships: street committees which were constituted and run by the older generation as a subsidiary form of local government situated in an uncomfortable working relationship with formal apartheid authorities and youth-run people's courts which attempt to usurp the adult role of defining and enforcing particular types of order. The article covers the political contests played out in and around the courts and the effects these had on the type of justice administered. The consequences of these changes culminated in the demise of the people's court and the revival of the street committees. Several tentative conclusions are drawn for consideration in a post-apartheid South Africa. Chronology, glossary, 4 cases cited, 10 statutes and regulations, 27 footnotes, and 60 references (Author abstract modified)
Main Term(s): Tribal court system
Index Term(s): Informal social control; Local criminal justice systems; Peer influences on behavior; Public Opinion of the Courts; South Africa
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