The Difference Law Makes - Review Article of Abel, Politics By Other Means and Lobban, White Man's Justice
Modern Law Review, Vol. 60, p. 866, 1997
8 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2008
Date Written: August, 21 2008
Abel's account of the struggle against apartheid focuses on the double role of law in it - law as the sword of the oppressor and law as the shield for the oppressed. Similarly, in White Man's Justice: South African Political Trials in the Black Consciousness Era, Michael Lobban offers an account of the role law played in judicial characterisations of resistance to apartheid when the resisters had been brought to court charged with various crimes against the state. I argue that Lobban's conclusions are not supported by his own evidence and that Abel presents a convincing, though mostly implicit, case for challenging the separation thesis. I conclude with some remarks about the implications of these two studies for the general jurisprudential debate about the relationship between law and politics.
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