The Place of the Laws of Lerotholi in the Legal System of Lesotho

This article traces the origin and development of the laws of Lerotholi as perhaps the most important written source of information about the customary law of Lesotho and describes some of the difficulties that have arisen over their recognition in the higher courts. It shows how the problems relating to the exact status of the Laws stem directly from the system of colonial administration operative at the time of their formulation and subsequent revision. Though the earliest version of the Laws of Lerotholi was drawn up by the Basutoland National Council in 1903, the article starts with an examination of events which occurred in the latter half of the 19th century. It first shows the varying interpretations of the colonial relationship with the Basotho which emerged; secondly it draws attention to the moves to establish the national Council which led to the formulation of the ‘Laws’; and finally it traces how far the ‘code’ was and is recognized as valid law. Notes.

Title: The Place of the Laws of Lerotholi in the Legal System of Lesotho
Author: Poulter, Sebastian
Year: 1972
Periodical: African Affairs: The Journal of the Royal African Society
Volume: 71
Issue: 283
Period: April
Pages: 144-162
Language: English
Geographic term: Lesotho
External link: https://www.jstor.org/stable/720875
Abstract: This article traces the origin and development of the laws of Lerotholi as perhaps the most important written source of information about the customary law of Lesotho and describes some of the difficulties that have arisen over their recognition in the higher courts. It shows how the problems relating to the exact status of the Laws stem directly from the system of colonial administration operative at the time of their formulation and subsequent revision. Though the earliest version of the Laws of Lerotholi was drawn up by the Basutoland National Council in 1903, the article starts with an examination of events which occurred in the latter half of the 19th century. It first shows the varying interpretations of the colonial relationship with the Basotho which emerged; secondly it draws attention to the moves to establish the national Council which led to the formulation of the ‘Laws’; and finally it traces how far the ‘code’ was and is recognized as valid law. Notes.