The Role of Founding Values and Principles in Constitutional and Statutory Interpretation: Lessons for Zimbabwe

Author: Admark Moyo and Basutu S Makwaiba

ISSN: 2521-5434
Affiliations: None
Source: Africa Journal of Comparative Constitutional Law, 2020, p. 31 – 58


This article explores the role of constitutional values and principles in statutory and constitutional analysis. Given that the exact meaning of these values and principles remains largely unexplored, the article starts by explaining the differences between these terms and argues that these differences are not important for purposes of determining the role of values and principles in the interpretation of legal texts. In addition, the article examines the meaning and scope of the teleological theory of interpretation which forms the philosophical basis of a value-laden approach to constitutional and statutory analysis. More importantly, the article proceeds to unpack the letter and reach of the constitutional provisions that explicitly require courts to pay due regard to values and principles when interpreting any part of the Declaration of Rights. Towards the end, the article demonstrates the role of values in both the interpretation of enactments and the development of the common law or customary law.