Source: (1997) University of Cape Town, Institute of Criminology. Position Paper, Commissioned by the Planning Unit, Ministry of Justice, South Africa.

Schärf explains the functions of South Africa’s community courts (as distinct from those of the formal justice system), their cultural roots and support, range of jurisdiction, and limits of effectiveness. Schärf then addresses whether community courts should remain independent of the formal justice system or be incorporated by the same. He identifies the positive and negative results that would come from exclusively pursuing either course, then advocates a third way – a formalized working relationship between the two that would combine the best aspects of indigenous and Western justice systems.

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