A summons to the magistrates' courts in South Africa and Uganda

Cooper-Knock, Sarah-Jane and Macdonald, Anna ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8873-003X (2020) A summons to the magistrates' courts in South Africa and Uganda. African Affairs, 119 (477). 552–577. ISSN 0001-9909

[thumbnail of Published_Version]
PDF (Published_Version) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (212kB) | Preview


The expansive literature on law and justice across Africa emphasizes why people do not use lower state courts. Consequently, a striking lack of attention is paid to how and why people do engage with lower state courts. Drawing on a systematic literature review and a multi-sited qualitative study, we make three contributions on this topic. First, we explore how this academic gap emerged. Second, we critique the procedural justice model that currently underlies much ‘access to justice’ programming, which seeks to improve citizens’ engagements with the courts. In place of what we describe as its arithmetic assumptions about institutional engagement, value, and legitimacy, we propose a trifactor framework. Citizen engagement, we argue, occurs as people reconcile how they think the courts should act, how they expect them to act, and how they need them to act in any given instance. Third, drawing on our empirical studies, we highlight that this framework is flexible enough to capture people’s actually existing decision-making in a wide variety of settings and to map how those trade-offs shift throughout the process of their case, providing important insights into ideas of justice and statehood.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
Related URLs:
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2020 23:57
Last Modified: 22 Oct 2022 07:08
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/77050
DOI: 10.1093/afraf/adaa026


Downloads per month over past year

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item