Colonialism, Justice and the Rule of Law: A Southern African and Australian Narrative

De Jure Law De Jure - 2012 Issue 45, Vol 2 , 306 - 328

23 Pages Posted: 24 Apr 2012 Last revised: 1 May 2015

See all articles by Sascha Dov Bachmann

Sascha Dov Bachmann

Bournemouth University - The Media School; Swedish Defence University (FHS); Bournemouth University

Tom Frost

Newcastle University - Newcastle Law School

Date Written: April 24, 2012


Colonialism has had a huge impact upon the legal systems of countries around the world. The historical impact of the British Empire can still be felt today in countries as diverse as Australia and South Africa. This effect is explored in both these countries, both in its historical form of racial discrimination, as well as the modern consequences of this colonial past. This article analyses how formal conceptions of the Rule of Law and legal certainty can undermine efforts to achieve justice for past historical wrongs. Examples of this are found in the Aboriginal land rights litigation in Australia, as well as litigation under the Alien Tort Statute in the United States of America.

OPSOMMING Kolonialisme, geregtigheid en die oppergesag van die reg:'n Suider-Afrikaanse en Australiese verhaal Kolonialisme het ’n groot impak op die regstelsels van lande regoor die wêreld gehad. Die historiese impak van die Britse Ryk kan vandag nog steeds gevoel word in lande so uiteenlopend soos Australië en Suid-Afrika. Hierdie impak word in beide hierdie lande ondersoek, in sowel sy historiese vorm van rassediskriminasie, as die moderne gevolge van die koloniale verlede.

Hierdie artikel ontleed hoe formele opvattings van die oppergesag van die reg en regsekerheid, pogings om geregtigheid vir gedane historiese onreg te bewrkstellig, kan ondermyn. Voorbeelde hiervan kan gevind word in die Aboriginal grondregte litigasie in Australië, sowel as litigasie in die Verenigde State van Amerika onder die Alien Tort Act

Keywords: Human Rights Litigation, Colonialism, Post Colonial Conflict Resolution, British - Zulu - War, Imperialism, Holocaust, Herero, Genocide

Suggested Citation

Bachmann, Sascha-Dominik Oliver Vladimir and Frost, Tom, Colonialism, Justice and the Rule of Law: A Southern African and Australian Narrative (April 24, 2012). De Jure Law De Jure - 2012 Issue 45, Vol 2 , 306 - 328 . Available at SSRN: or

Sascha-Dominik Oliver Vladimir Bachmann (Contact Author)

Bournemouth University - The Media School ( email )

Bournemouth, BH12 5BB
United Kingdom

Swedish Defence University (FHS) ( email )

114 28, Drottning Kristinas väg 37
Stockholm, 114 28

HOME PAGE: http://

Bournemouth University ( email )

Bournemouth, BH1
United Kingdom


Tom Frost

Newcastle University - Newcastle Law School ( email )

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