people’s court, noun phrase

Forms:
Also with initial capitals.
Origin:
EnglishShow more Special senses of general English.
1. obsolete. Any of several proposed minor courts in black urban areas, to consist of persons appointed by the Minister (under the Community Councils Act No.125 of 1977), with powers similar to those of traditional chiefs. Also attributive.
Note:
These courts were never established.
1980 M. Tyala in E. Prov. Herald 2 MayCommunity Councils in Port Elizabeth, Grahamstown and Uitenhage have accepted a proposal by the Department of Co-operation and Development to establish judicial ‘peoples’ courts’ in the African townships.
1980 Grocott’s Mail 9 May 1The envisaged People’s Court will only be able to try minor crimes including contraventions of tribal customs and conventions.
1980 R. Nuttall in E. Prov. Herald 10 July 2The introduction of people’s courts in black urban areas came a step nearer yesterday...The measure..will confer on selected blacks the same judicial powers as headmen or tribal chiefs.
2. small claims court.
1983 Rand Daily Mail 21 Oct. 8People’s courts..could enable the ordinary man to afford recourse to the judicial process.
1983 E. Prov. Herald 22 Oct. 3Mr E. F— bought a car radio and could not obtain any satisfaction from the seller when something went wrong with it. He..was sure a ‘people’s court’ could have resolved his problem.
1984 E. Prov. Herald 28 Mar. 5The ‘people’s courts’ will deal with claims of up to R700 and there will be no legal representation.
3. An unofficial court set up by a vigilante group in a black (urban) area, ostensibly to re-establish law and order; DC noun2; disciplinary committee sense b; kgotla sense 6 a. Also attributive. See also street committee.
1984 Frontline Feb. 13Apart from the police and formal court structure, there are unofficial ‘people’s courts’ operating under the authority of rural chiefs.
1985 Sunday Times 27 Oct. 19This is the face of township vigilante justice — a man is brutally flogged after being ‘tried’ in an open-air ‘people’s court’ near Port Elizabeth.
1986 New Statesman (U.K.) 13 June 21The strategy of making the townships ungovernable by Black councillors and white security forces — and replacing it by people’s government as seen in the street committees and ‘people’s courts’ — is a sign of the ANC’s growing influence in many of the townships.
1987 Weekly Mail 31 July 4Two Duncan Village men were..sentenced for assaulting a woman as a result of a ‘People’s Court’ decision.
1990 New African 13 Aug. 1ANC slams ‘barbaric’ people’s courts.
1990 M. Ndwandwe in Tribute Sept. 64People’s courts, or ‘disciplinary committees’ (DCs) were a phenomenon of life in the townships in the eighties...People’s courts were..set up to attend to community issues that the government either failed or was not prepared to handle.
1991 E. Mosaneke on Radio South Africa 14 May (Audio Mix)Children run so-called ‘people’s courts’ with jungle justice.
1994 [see modelling].
Any of several proposed minor courts in black urban areas, to consist of persons appointed by the Minister (under the Community Councils Act No.125 of 1977), with powers similar to those of traditional chiefs. Also attributive.
small claims court.
An unofficial court set up by a vigilante group in a black (urban) area, ostensibly to re-establish law and order; DCnoun; disciplinary committeeb; kgotla6 a. Also attributive.
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