Inaugural meeting and conference of African Network of Judicial Trainers

The work of the Judicial Institute for Africa (Jifa) and the African Legal Information Institute (AfricanLII) was showcased at this week’s inaugural three-day AGM and conference of the African Network of Judicial Trainers (ANJT), held in Zanzibar. A number of important projects were launched or unveiled at the event, including an inaugural project to draw up a shared ethics manual on judicial training for trainers.

Pocket Law: Legal Information In Your Pocket

Do your users struggle to connect to the Internet? Pocket Law lets you search for cases and legislation off-line. It is a USB stick loaded with an LII website, which works off-line and updates with new content once users are in Internet coverage.

Pocket Law
The Community Land Act in Kenya Opportunities and Challenges for Communities

Kenya is the most recent African state to acknowledge customary tenure as producing lawful property rights, not merely rights of occupation and use on government or public lands. This paper researches this new legal environment. This promises land security for 6 to 10 million Kenyans, most of who are members of pastoral or other poorer rural communities. Analysis is prefaced with substantial background on legal trends continentally, but the focus is on Kenya’s Community Land Act, 2016, as the framework through which customary holdings are to be identified and registered. A main conclusion is that while Kenya’s law is positive and even cutting-edge in respects, legal loopholes place communities at risk of their lands not being as secure as promised ahead of formalization, and at risk of losing some of their most valuable lands during the formalization process. This is mainly due to overlapping claims by the national and local government authorities. Political will to apply the law is also weak. The truism that the law is never enough on its own to secure social change is illustrated. With or without legal protection, the assistance of non-state actors will be needed to help communities secure their lands under formal collective entitlements. The need for judicial interpretation of disputed legal provisions may also be required to ensure new constitutional principles are delivered.

Kenya and Botswana: why were their recent sodomy judgments so different?

In this post from the website of the International Association of Constitutional Law , blogger Aditendra Singh of the National Law University, Delhi, compares two similar cases from Kenya and Botswana. He poses the question: What made the courts adjudicate the matters so differently?

Botswana: Criminalisation of Consensual Gay Sex is Unconstitutional

The High Court of Botswana has ruled that a ban on consensual gay sex is unconstitutional.  Read the full judgment below, which is reproduced here until such time as BotswanaLII is established.  The PDF of the judgment may be downloaded here .

Collective Land Ownership in the 21st Century: Overview of Global Trends

Statutory recognition of rural communities as collective owners of their lands is substantial, expanding, and an increasingly accepted element of property relations. The conventional meaning of property in land itself is changing, allowing for a greater diversity of attributes without impairing legal protection. General identified trends include: (1) declining attempts to deny that community lands are property on the grounds that they may not be sold or are owned collectively; (2) increased provision for communities to be registered owners to the same degree as individual and corporate persons; (3) a rise in number of laws catering specifically to the identification, registration and governance of community property; and (4) in laws that acknowledge that community property may exist whether or not it has been registered, and that registration formalizes rather than creates property in these cases. The research examined the laws of 100 countries to ascertain the status of lands which social communities, either traditionally or in more contemporary arrangements, deem to be their own. Sampling is broadly consistent with numbers of countries per region. The constitutions of all 100 countries were examined. The land laws of 61 countries were scrutinized. Secondary sources were used for 39 countries, mainly due to laws not being available in English. The main secondary source used was LandMark, whose data is publicly available at .

Court orders tribal authority to act democratically

Do traditional leaders have to consult with their community before litigating on their behalf? On 9 March 2018, a Mahikeng High Court  judgment  answered this question: yes, they do. The Court found that the kgosi (king) of the Bafokeng Nation had to consult broadly with the community before going to court against the Minister of Land Affairs. This was because of the customary law principle of “kgosi ke kgosi ka morafe” (a king is a king by virtue of the people). Phrased differently: sovereignty resides with the people.

Kenya's new cybercrime law opens the door to privacy violations, censorship

A new act is trying to lock down cyber crime in Kenya.

Victory for asylum seekers in Constitutional Court

The Constitutional Court has ruled that asylum seekers’ temporary permits must automatically be extended while their case is being reviewed.

Summary of the key decisions and declarations of the 31st African Union Summit

Following the conclusion of the 31st AU Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania from the 25th of June to 2nd July 2018, the key activities, decisions and declarations of the Summit are provided below.

How the free movement of people could benefit Africa

Africa’s Free Movement Protocol will open up the continent for easy travel and big business. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Insights into commercial contracting from South Africa’s informal sector

What happens when African societal norms meet modern commercial practice? From boardrooms in Sandton to the cultural mash-up and the  “popular economy”  of a South African township, African business people of different ethnicities and world views are contracting on a daily basis. Is there anything peculiarly “African” about this process, or are all business people the conventional profit-maximising individuals of  free market economic theory ? The answer here informs the related policy question as to whether South Africa needs to develop a dedicated indigenous law of contract.


Many African countries are currently being governed using laws which were passed during the pre-independence period. Essentially, this means that countries are running using colonial rules and laws. Specifically, many countries have got mental health laws that are archaic. Zambia is not an exception. It has the Mental Disorders Act of 1951.

Why the dominance of big players is bad for South Africa’s economy

Talk of radical economic transformation in South Africa requires a second look if it is to deliver the goods. While the concept has assumed varying definitions in recent times, it’s generally accepted as representing a push for  structural change  of the post-apartheid economy in a way that creates space for the black majority to participate fully.

Lesotho High Court Recognises the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Female Soldiers

On 14 February 2018, the Lesotho High Court handed down judgment in a landmark case on women’s rights. The judgment of Sakoane J (as part of a 3 panel bench) in the case of  Private Lekhetso Mokhele and Others v The Commander, Lesotho Defence Forces and Others  sets an important precedent on the rights of pregnant employees in the military.

Clean air vs industrial development: Durban court case explained

South Durban environmental alliance brings case to court.  What is the right balance between economic development and environmental protection? This is the issue raised in a court battle over a new industrial development in south Durban.

Ghana's justice system needs a major overhaul: here's what should be done

Ghana’s justice system is not just slow. It’s also expensive and sometimes even harsh.

South Africa's courts and lawmakers have failed the ideal of cultural diversity

The approach to law reform and judicial lawmaking that I propose is one in which African values are the starting point. This means accepting that African values exist. This might sound obvious. But a great many people deny that they do, or that they have any relevance in a modern society. These values display a different emphasis from the western world view, and South Africans need to accept that they have a positive contribution to make in creating a new society.

Case Report: A.M.N & 2 others v Attorney General & 5 others (2015) eKLR: A Review of the Kenyan Position on Surrogacy

​Who is the lawful mother of children born in the context of a surrogacy agreement?  Would the genetic parents have to adopt their own children?  What is in the best interest of the child?

Development: Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly

The Constitutional Court of South Africa has ruled that the National Assembly is obligated to make rules holding the President to account, and that it should fulfil its obligations in that regard without delay.  In his dissenting judgment, the Chief Justice characterises the majority judgment as a textbook case of judicial overreach - a constitutionally impermissible intrusion by the Judiciary into the exclusive domain of Parliament.

Anneke Meerkotter, Challenges and Opportunities for Access to Regional Law - a Practitioner's View from Southern Africa

Anneke Meerkotter's view is the legal and policy information from regional and treaty bodies in Africa: