The article addresses the methodological problems concerning how to assess the political role of courts in Zambia - and in new democracies more generally, and suggests a framework within which this can be done. Particular focus is on the accountabiliy function vis-a-is political authorities. It also raises the issue of the role courts play (positive or negativ) in processes of social integration of marginalised groups and ask how we can get a better understanding of the conditions under which courts generate legitimacy for their role and avoid undue politicisation.

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