South Africa’s Constitutional Court has adopted a purposive approach to interpreting the Constitution of 1996. It first signaled that it would take this direction in the early decision S v Mhlungu, concerning whether criminal cases pending at the time of the adoption of the Interim Constitution were subject to constitutional litigation. That decision became the focal point of scholarly disagreement about whether the purposive approach permitted the court to abandon the plain meaning of the constitutional text. Scholars and judges have increasingly come to support the purposive approach by invoking the idea of transformative constitutionalism i.e. that the Constitutional text itself mandates a break from the legal culture of the past. I evaluate this justification for purposivism and explore the controversy it has generated, particularly with respect to the Constitution’s influence on private law.
Our 2020 Annual Conference was scheduled to be held at the University of Wrocław in Poland on July 9-11, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our next Annual Conference will take place from July 8-10, 2021. The conference, "ICON•S Mundo", will be held online. Details regarding the organization of the 2021 Conference will follow soon.Join ICON•S