Popular Concepts of Justice and Fairness in Ghana: Testing the Legitimacy of New or Hybrid Forms of State Justice
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The provision of effective, legitimate, and accessible justice through judicial institutions and more generally through the ‘rule of law’ is probably one of the most fundamental of all public goods expected from a well-governed state. By ‘rule of law’ we mean more than just the current neo-liberal conception of a legal system which protects private property and facilitates the market economy. Rule of law refers to the provision of a justice system which sustains the security of all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, protects against the exercise of arbitrary power by the state or the powerful, and provides for the public regulation of civil disputes in ways which are trusted. The idea that public officials are subject to legal and moral norms is particularly important in ex-colonial states where the state is often perceived as a tyrannical and arbitrary monster (cf. Young, 1994). In addition, state law is present in everyday life insofar as it uses the authority of the state to enforce, regulate or define social and economic relationships, from marriage and sexual behaviour through to economic exchange, the disposal of property and the power to command the services of others (Poggi, 1978; O’Donnell, 1999). In short, the degree of public trust in and the legitimacy of public judicial institutions directly underpins the legitimacy and trustworthiness of the state itself.
CitationCrook, R.; sante, K. and Brobbey, V. (2010) Popular Concepts of Justice and Fairness in Ghana: Testing the Legitimacy of New or Hybrid Forms of State Justice, Working Paper 14, Africa Power and Politics Programme (APPP), Overseas Development Institute
Is part of seriesAfrica Power and Politics Programme (APPP) Working Paper;14
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