ConCourt Collections

Welcome to the repository of the Constitutional Court which will give you access to our collections, and share in the court’s jurisprudence.

Since its establishment in 1994, the Constitutional Court has developed an extensive and internationally-acknowledged body of jurisprudence. The Constitutional Court’s mandate places it at the centre of not only the legal but also the social and political transformation of South African society. Amongst other things, the Court has abolished the death penalty, confirmed prisoners’ right to vote, required the State to recognise same sex marriage, and declared that women in Muslim and African customary marriages are entitled to inheritance under South African legislation. South Africa is one of the few countries to give effect to socioeconomic rights in its Constitution, including rights to have access to food, water, housing, health-care services, social security and education. The Court’s jurisprudence in this area is widely considered ground-breaking. Perhaps the best-known case is Minister of Health v Treatment Action Campaign (2002), where the Court ordered the government to remove restrictions impeding the use of an anti-retroviral drug to combat mother to child transmission of HIV. The Constitutional Court’s adjudicative role is politically sensitive, because it exercises judicial review power over the democratically-elected organs of state and makes orders that impact on state resources. In performing these functions, the Court is careful to respect the separation of powers underpinning South Africa’s constitutional democracy.

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