1st Edition

Federalism and the Courts in Africa Design and Impact in Comparative Perspective

Edited By Yonatan T. Fessha, Karl Kössler Copyright 2020
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    This volume examines the design and impact of courts in African federal systems from a comparative perspective.

    Recent developments indicate that the previously stymied idea of federalism is now being revived in the constitutional arrangements of several African countries. A number of them jumped on the bandwagon of federalism in the early 1990s because it came to be seen as a means to facilitate development, to counter the concentration of power in a single governmental actor and to manage communal tensions. An important part of the move towards federalism is the establishment of courts that are empowered to umpire intergovernmental disputes. This edited volume brings together contributions that first discuss questions of design by focusing, in particular, on the organization of the judiciary and the appointment of judges in African federal systems. They then examine whether courts have had a rather centralizing or decentralizing impact on the operation of African federal systems.

    The book will be of interest to researchers and policy-makers in the areas of comparative constitutional law and comparative politics.


    Karl Kössler and Yonatan T. Fessha

    1. Judicial Federalism in Comparative Perspective

    Erin F. Delaney

    2. Federalism and the Courts in Nigeria

    Patrick Ukata

    3. Giving ‘Shape and Texture’ to the Federal System? Ethiopia’s Courts and its Unusual Umpire

    Yonatan T. Fessha and Zemelak Ayele)

    4. The Courts and the Provinces in South Africa

    Victoria Bronstein

    5. The Courts and Local Governments in South Africa

    Oliver Fuo

    6. The Courts and Devolution: The Kenyan Experience

    Conrad M. Bosire

    Comparative Observations

    Yonatan T. Fessha and Karl Kössler


    Yonatan T. Fessha (LL.B, LL.M, Ph.D.), currently a Marie Curie Fellow at Eurac Research Bolzano/Bozen (Italy), is Professor of Law at the University of the Western Cape. His research interests include constitutional law and human rights. His teaching and research focuses on examining the relevance of constitutional design in dealing with the challenges of divided societies. He has published widely on matters pertaining to but not limited to federalism, constitutional design, autonomy and politicized ethnicity.

    Karl Kössler is Senior Researcher at the Institute for Comparative Federalism at Eurac Research Bolzano/Bozen (Italy). He received his Ph.D. in comparative public law and political science from the University of Innsbruck (Austria). His main fields of interest and expertise are comparative federalism and local government studies, as well as constitutional design in divided societies.