Legal Aspects of Language Barrier in Mainland Tanzanian Courts

Khalfan, Fatma Rashid (2018) Legal Aspects of Language Barrier in Mainland Tanzanian Courts. ["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined] thesis, The Open University of Tanzania.

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Abstract

Language is the oxygen of law and a core foundation for justice. As a medium of accessing justice, language use in trials is in international instrument jurisprudence reflected in “language fair trial rights.” The languages applied in Tanzanian courts are Kiswahili and English. English is predominantly a language of law, courts and court record whilst Kiswahili is marginally restricted to the Primary Courts and to a great deal of all court room communications. Language used in courts is the “lawyers‟ language” referred to as “legalese” which needs interpretation even for lawyers. This is inimical to the interest of justice, particularly to unrepresented laypersons. Addressing the inherent language barrier in Mainland Tanzanian courts, this study employs doctrinal methodology, which is complemented by empirical method. As a result, materials were obtained and analysed for this study against the backdrop of the research questions. By uncovering how language barrier manifests itself in courts, this study opens up dialogue on the role of language in justice administration and the need for prioritising “language fair trial rights.” If parties have difficulties in understanding the language of the court, their right to fair trial is likely to be prejudiced, unless there are in place effective and adequate means to overcome language barrier. Yet, the existing court interpretation regime is in many respects wanting and it is at best restricted to criminal and probate proceedings. Other means are also not without deficiencies. This study provides an insight into the magnitude of language barrier with its legal implications in accessing justice and the means available in addressing it. Hence, there is an urgent need for a systematic change in language use in Mainland Tanzanian courts.

Item Type: Thesis (["eprint_fieldopt_thesis_type_phd" not defined])
Subjects: 300 Social Sciences > 340 Law
Divisions: Faculty of Law > Faculty of Law
Depositing User: Mr Habibu V. Kazimzuri
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2018 12:31
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2018 12:31
URI: http://repository.out.ac.tz/id/eprint/1899

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