Judicial Review of the Legislative Process in Lesotho: Lessons from South Africa





Lesotho, judicial review, legislative process, Constitution of Lesotho, South Africa


The Constitution of Lesotho has a supremacy clause which ordinarily empowers the judiciary to review the actions of other branches of government. However, the judiciary in Lesotho seems to treat the legislative process with deference. This deference seems to be based on the old common law notion of the non-intervention of the judiciary in the legislative process. The notion has its roots in the British constitutional system. The Constitution of Lesotho, 1993 has even protected this doctrine through a constitutional ouster clause in section 80(5). The main question which this paper seeks to answer is whether indeed the common law notion of non-intervention in the legislative process is part of the constitutional law of Lesotho. In the end, the paper uses South African jurisprudence on the review of the legislative process to make a case that Lesotho can use the supremacy clause in the constitution and other constitutional doctrines such as the rule of law and legality to break with the common law notion of non-interventionism.




Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Allen M and Thomson M Cases and Materials on Constitutional and Administrative Law 9th ed (Oxford University Press Oxford 2008)

Andrews J The Works of James Wilson (Callaghan Chicago 1896)

Arenson KJ "Rejection of the Power of Judicial Review in Britain" 1996 Deakin L Rev 37-54

Barber NW "The Afterlife of Parliamentary Sovereignty" 2011 ICON 144-154

Barkow RE "More Supreme than Court: The Fall of the Political Question Doctrine and the Rise of Judicial Supremacy" 2002 Colum L Rev 237-336

Barroso da Graca LO "Judicial Review of the Legislative Process in Brazil" 2018 UCL JL and J 55-81

Bar-Siman-Tov I "The Puzzling Resistance to Judicial Review of the Legislative Process" 2011 BU L Rev 1915-1974

Beardsley JE "The Common Law in Lesotho" 1970 J Afr L 198-202

Bickel AM The Least Dangerous Branch: The Supreme Court at the Bar of Politics (Yale University Press New Haven 1986)

Bradley AW and Ewing KD Constitutional and Administrative Law 12th ed (Longman London 1997)

Cachalia F "Judicial Review of Parliamentary Rulemaking: A Provisional Case for Restraint" 2015 NYL Sch L Rev 379-408

Cella AJ "The Doctrine of Legislative Privilege of Freedom of Speech and Debate: Its Past, Present and Future as a Bar to Criminal Prosecutions in the Courts" 1968 Suffolk U L Rev 1-43

Choper JH "The Political Question Doctrine: Suggested Criteria" 2004 Duke LJ 1457-1524

Cowen DV "Legislature and Judiciary: Reflections on the Constitutional Issues in South Africa: Part I" 1952 MLR 282-296

Craig PP "Sovereignty of the United Kingdom Parliament after Factortame" in Loveland ID (ed) Constitutional Law (Routledge London 2018) 359-394

Daniels RN and Brickhill J "The Counter-majoritarian Difficulty and the South African Constitutional Court" 2006

De Smith SA The New Commonwealth and its Constitutions (Stevens London 1964)

Delaney EF "Judiciary Rising: Constitutional Change in the United Kingdom" 2013 Nw U L Rev 543-606

Dicey AV Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution 8th ed (Macmillan London 1915)

Dlamini C "The Senate Case Revisited" 1988 SALJ 470-478

D'Oliveira J "Lesotho: 20 Years of Iron-fisted Rule Comes to an End" 1986 Africa Insight 6-9

Eekelaar J "The Death of Parliamentary Sovereignty: A Comment" 1997 LQR 185-187

Friedman F "The South African Common Law and the Constitution: Revisiting Horizontality" 2014 SAJHR 63-88

Goldsworthy J Parliamentary Sovereignty: Contemporary Debates (Cambridge University Press Cambridge 2010)

Griswold EN "The Demise of the High Court of Parliament in South Africa" 1953 Harv L Rev 864-872

Harel A and Shinar A "Between Judicial and Legislative Supremacy: A Cautious Defense of Constrained Judicial Review" 2012 ICON 950-975

Hatsell J Precedents of Proceedings in the House of Commons: Relating to Members, Speaker, etc (Hansard London 1818)

Hoexter C Administrative Law in South Africa (Juta Cape Town 2012)

Jain DC "Judicial Review of Parliamentary Privileges: Functional Relationship of Courts and Legislatures in India" 1967 JILI 205-222

Khaketla BM Lesotho 1970: An African Coup under the Microscope (University of California Press Berkeley 1972)

Kretzmer D "Judicial Review of Knesset Decisions" 1988 Tel Aviv U Stud L 95-156

Laubscher PJ "The Foundation of Sovereignty: Parliament as a Law-making Body" 1981 SALJ 529-541

Macartney WJA "African Westminster? The Parliament of Lesotho" 1970 Parliamentary Affairs 121-140

Macartney WJA "The Lesotho General Election of 1970" 1973 Government and Change 473-494

May TE Erskine May's Treatise on the Law, Privileges, Proceedings and Usage of Parliament 22nd ed (Butterworth-Heinemann London 1997)

Mhango M "Separation of Powers in Ghana: The Evolution of the Political Question Doctrine" 2014 PELJ 2704-2744

Mureinik E "A Bridge to Where? Introducing the Interim Bill of Rights" 1994 SAJHR 31-48

Navot S "Judicial Review of the Legislative Process" 2006 Israel L Rev 182-247

'Nyane H "Development of Constitutional Democracy: 20 Years of the Constitution of Lesotho" 2014 Lesotho LJ 59-86

'Nyane H "Development of the Constitution of Lesotho since Independence: The Critique of Westminster Design in Lesotho" in Tsikoane T (ed) Lesotho at Fifty Years of Independence: Aspects of Chequered Development Journey (Morija Printing Works Morija 2018) 121-139

Okpaluba C "Can a Court Review the Internal Affairs and Processes of the Legislature? Contemporary Developments in South Africa" 2015 CILSA 183-218

Okpaluba C and Mhango M "Between Separation of Powers and Justiciability: Rationalising the Constitutional Court's Judgement in the Gauteng E-tolling Litigation in South Africa" 2017 LDD 1-24

Palmer VV "The Common Law in Lesotho" 1969 J Afr L 127-144

Palmer VV and Poulter SM The Legal System of Lesotho (Michie Charlottesville, Va 1972)

Ramaite MS The Role of the Judiciary in a Modern State with a Tradition of Legislative Supremacy (LLD-thesis University of South Africa 1996)

Sakoane S "The Latimer House Guidelines on Preserving the Independence of Parliamentarians: Constitutional and Legal Guarantees in Lesotho" 2000 Lesotho LJ 39-69

Salva EM "Parliamentary Freedom of Speech" 1963 Philip LJ 477-511

Steele J "Immunity of Parliamentary Statements" 2012 Nott LJ 43-53

Taiwo EA "Judicial Review of the Impeachment Procedure in Nigeria" 2009 Malawi LJ 236-272

Tucker A "Uncertainty in the Rule of Recognition and in the Doctrine of Parliamentary Sovereignty" 2011 OJLS 61-88

Wade H "The Senate Act Case and the Entrenched Sections of the South Africa Act" 1957 SALJ 160-166

Waldron J "The Core of the Case against Judicial Review" 2006 Yale LJ 1346-1406

Yankwich LR "Immunity of Congressional Speech: Its Origin, Meaning and Scope" 1950 U Pa L Rev 960-977

All Basotho Convention v Speaker of the National Assembly (CIV/APN/406/2016) [2017] LSHC 1 (23 February 2017)

Attorney General v Mopa LAC (2000-2004) 427

Attorney General v Swissbourgh Diamond Mine LAC (1995-1999) 214

Biti v Minister Justice Legal and Parliamentary Affairs 2002 ZWSC 9 (27 February 2002)

British Railways Board v Pickin [1974] 1 All ER 609

Chalatse v The Acting Chief Justice (C of A CIV NO/63/2014) [2015] LSCA 19 (7 August 2015)

Chief Justice v Law Society (C of A CIV NO/59/2011) [2012] LSCA 3 (27 April 2012)

Collins v Minister of the Interior 1957 1 All SA 227 (A)

Development for Peace Education v Speaker of the National Assembly (No 5/2016) [2017] LSHC 5 (13 March 2017)

Doctors for Life International v Speaker of the National Assembly 2006 6 SA 416 (CC)

Dombrowski v Eastland 387 US 82 (1967)

Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly 2016 3 SA 580 (CC)

Economic Freedom Fighters v Speaker of the National Assembly 2018 3 BCLR 259 (CC)

Edinburgh & Dalkeith Railway v Wauchope (1842) 8 CI and F710

Executive Council of the Western Cape Legislature v President of the Republic of South Africa 1995 10 BCLR 1289 (CC)

Federal Convention of Namibia v Speaker, National Assembly of Namibia 1994 1 SA 177 (Nra HC)

Field v Clark 143 US 649 (1892)

Governor-in-Council, Western Region of Nigeria v Jonathan Oshunlaja (1961) 1 SCNLR 303

In re Certification of South Africa 1996 4 SA 744 (CC)

Johannesburg Consolidated Investment Co v Johannesburg Town Council 1903 TS 111

Harris v Minister of the Interior 1952 2 All SA 400 (A)

Khaketla v The Honourable Prime Minister (CIV/APN/145/85) [1985] LSCA 118 (24 July 1985)

Kilbourn v Thompson 103 US 168 (1881)

Lakanmi v Attorney General, West (1971) 1 UILR 201

Law Society of Lesotho v Ramodibedi (Constitutional Case No 1 of 2003) [2003] LSHC 89 (15 August 2003)

Lee v Bude &Torrington Railway Co 1871 LR 6 CP 577

Marbury v Madison 5 US (1 Cranch) 137 (1803)

Mazibuko v Sisulu 2013 4 SA 243 (WCC)

Mazibuko v Sisulu 2013 11 BCLR 1297 (CC)

Minister of the Interior v Harris 1952 2 All SA 400 (A)

Minister of the Interior v Harris 1952 4 All SA 376 (A)

Mokhothu v Speaker of the National Assembly (Constitutional Case No 20/2017) 2017 LHC 20 (21 February 2018)

Ndlwana v Hofmeyr 1937 AD 229

Peta v Minister of Law, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights (CC 11/2016) [2018] LSHC 3 (18 May 2018)

President of the Republic of South Africa v United Democratic Movement 2003 1 SA 472 (CC)

Prince Ademuluyi v Brig RA Adebayo (1968) 2 All NLR 272

Poovalingam v Rajbansi 1992 1 SA 283 (A)

Powell v McCormack 395 US 486 (1969)

R (Jackson) v Attorney General [2006] 1 AC 262

R v Ndobe 1930 AD 484

Raphuthing v Chairman of the Disciplinary Hearing C of A (CIV) 45/2014 [2015] LSCA 2 (7 August 2015)

S v Makwanyane 1995 6 BCLR 665 (CC)

Sarid v Knesset Speaker (1981) 36 (2) PD 198

Speaker of the National Assembly v De Lille 1999 4 SA 863 (SCA)

Tenney v Brandhove 341 US 367 (1951)

The Resident, Badan Province v Memudu Lagunju 14 WACA 549

Transformation Resource Centre v Speaker of the National Assembly (Constitutional Case No 4 of 2017) [2017] LSHC 23 (30 November 2017)

Tsang v Minister of Foreign Affairs 1993-94 LLR-LB 45 (HC)

United Democratic Movement v Speaker, National Assembly 2017 5 SA 300 (CC)

United States v Johnson 383 US 169 (1966)

Basutoland Constitution, 1959

Basutoland Constitution, 1965

Bill of Rights (1689) (England)

Constitution of Lesotho, 1966

Constitution of Lesotho, 1993

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Constitutional Litigation Rules (Legal Notice 194 of 2000)

Electoral Amendment Act 10 of 1984

Human Rights Act 24 of 1983 (UK)

Human Rights Commission Act 2 of 2016 (Lesotho)

Separate Representation of Voters Act 46 of 1951

Union of South Africa Act, 1909

United Kingdom Parliament Act, 1911

United Kingdom Parliament Act, 1949



How to Cite

’Nyane, H. (2019). Judicial Review of the Legislative Process in Lesotho: Lessons from South Africa. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 22, 1–30. https://doi.org/10.17159/1727-3781/2019/v22i0a5713