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Text Matters: Some Reflections on the Forging of a New Constitutional Jurisprudence in South Africa


  • Kate O'Regan

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    • Judge of the Constitutional Court of South Africa (1994–2009). This is the text of the 40th Annual Chorley lecture given at the London School of Economics, 14 June 2011 (finally revised 30 September 2011).


The South African Constitution establishes a constitutional democracy with a strong form of constitutional review. The Constitutional Court is required to declare invalid any legislation or conduct of the President which is inconsistent with the Constitution. The author, a former judge of the Constitutional Court, argues that the text of the Constitution has been an important determinant of the Court's jurisprudence, both in relation to the Court's jurisprudence concerning the institutional structures established by the Constitution and its Bill of Rights jurisprudence.