The Conundrum of Judicial Notice as a Means of Ascertaining Customary Law in Nigerian and South African Courts amid the Convergence of Positivism and Legal Pluralism




Ascertainment, judicial notice, court procedure, positivism, centralism, legal pluralism


The roles of the courts have become an inevitable social reality in adjudicating customary law disputes in Nigeria and South Africa. Because these courts are established and validated along positivist practice, they inevitably require the adoption of a process for ascertaining and applying customary law since the judges of these courts are not ordinarily conversant with its norms. Hence judicial notice has been adopted as one of the ways of ascertaining customary law. The conceptualisation and theoretical basis of customary law cannot be ignored in the analysis of the process of its ascertainment. Crucial to this are theories of centralism, legal pluralism and positivism. This paper therefore identifies challenges in ascertaining customary law through judicial notice in the various cadres of courts operative in both jurisdictions amid the operation of these theories and the attendant implications thereof. It elucidates the rules that guide the judge and identifies the challenges encountered in each jurisdiction based on how each law is scripted. It also contends that while positivist rules and procedure regulate how customary law can be ascertained and applied by the courts, its application must however be limited to the point where it threatens the essence of customary law.




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How to Cite

Badejogbin, R. E. . (2019). The Conundrum of Judicial Notice as a Means of Ascertaining Customary Law in Nigerian and South African Courts amid the Convergence of Positivism and Legal Pluralism. Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal, 22, 1–31.



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