How to open the doors of the court: lessons on access to justice from Indian PIL

Indian Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a creative and widely-noted model for broadening access to justice and facilitating the proper hearing of important issues even if they are not backed by resources. The model holds obvious appeal for South Africa, where these are pressing concerns. PIL has, however, enjoyed distinctly mixed success in India. This article draws on the model and the Indian experience of it to propose a PIL model for South Africa, more modest than India’s, but designed to be resistant to the problems India has experienced and to be a practical proposal that both the government and the judiciary could support. The paper seeks to show how such a model can expand the number and diversity of people who can access the courts, improve the ability of the courts to remedy constitutional violations, and potentially bolster judicial status and independence. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]

Title: How to open the doors of the court: lessons on access to justice from Indian PIL
Author: Fowkes, James
Year: 2011
Periodical: South African Journal on Human Rights (ISSN 0258-7203)
Volume: 27
Issue: 3
Pages: 434-465
Language: English
Geographic terms: India
South Africa
External link: https://doi.org/10.1080/19962126.2011.11865024
Abstract: Indian Public Interest Litigation (PIL) is a creative and widely-noted model for broadening access to justice and facilitating the proper hearing of important issues even if they are not backed by resources. The model holds obvious appeal for South Africa, where these are pressing concerns. PIL has, however, enjoyed distinctly mixed success in India. This article draws on the model and the Indian experience of it to propose a PIL model for South Africa, more modest than India’s, but designed to be resistant to the problems India has experienced and to be a practical proposal that both the government and the judiciary could support. The paper seeks to show how such a model can expand the number and diversity of people who can access the courts, improve the ability of the courts to remedy constitutional violations, and potentially bolster judicial status and independence. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]