About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

1952. High Court of Parliament Act No 35

This aimed to "make Parliament the ultimate court of appeal m constItutIonal matters" (Dyzenhaus 1991: 42), and "enabled it [the Parliament] ~o set aside, by a simple majority vote in both hou.ses, any appeal court Ju.dgment that invalidated an act of Parliament" (RIley 1991: 31). Thus a HIgh Court of Parliament was created which revalidated the SEPARATE REPRESENTATION OF VOTERS ACT of 1951 (which had been invalidated by the Supreme Court five months earlier).

However, the South African Appellate Court invalidated the HIGH COURT OF PARLIAMENT ACT. The Chief Justice stated in his ruling that "The so-called High Court of Parliament is not a .court of law but si~ply Parlia~~nt functioning under another name ... ParlIament cannot, by passIng an act gIVIng itself the name of a court of law, come to any decision which will have the effect of destroying the enthrenced provisions of the constitution" (quoted by Riley 1991: 34). Hence the High Court of Parliament, and with that also the revalidation of the SEPARATE REPRESENTATION OF VOTERS ACT of 1951, was invalidated (see Davenport 1987: 363f).

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.