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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Dilemmas of dual justice paradigms: gender inequality in the Zambian courts
Author:Munalula, Mulela MargaretISNI
Periodical:Zambia Law Journal
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:gender discrimination
administration of justice
Abstract:Gender discrimination embedded in the legal system has impacted the delivery of justice in Zambia over the past twenty-five years. The Zambian standard of justice differentiates between men and women on the basis of gender, as well as differentiating between different groups of women on the basis of legal prescription. The problems associated with this double standard of justice are rooted in the Constitution of Zambia, which does not categorically prohibit gender discrimination. Resistance, both from individual women litigants and from the women's movement as a whole, premised on a feminist critique of the law and fuelled by international standards, has chipped away at patriarchal attitudes on the part of the courts, albeit in a haphazard fashion. In the 1980s and early 1990s a number of statutory law reforms, particularly in respect of women's property rights, notably the Intestate Succession Act no. 59 of 1989, but also with regard to spousal homicide, were enacted. It is also increasingly possible to identify clear improvements in the judgment of the courts, especially at the higher levels. The courts themselves must take ultimate responsibility for the quality of justice they deliver. Within the terms of the law, courts have sufficient discretionary power to take an overtly feminist or anti-feminist position. For example, the case of Magaya v. Magaya (Zimbabwe) and that of Dow v. Attorney General (Botswana) indicate two very different approaches on the part of a Supreme Court to resolving issues of gender inequality even though Zimbabwe and Botswana have very similar constitutional provisions. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]