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Law is traditionally and appropriately portrayed as trailing or reflecting, rather that effecting, social change. Indeed, its core character is founded on an adherence to certainty and permanence, to the preservation of social equilibrium. … questions the law’s apparent resistance to change, particularly in circumstances where the conservation of the status quo entails an irreconcilable rift between law and justice. Exploring the active use of law in case studies in South Africa and Australia, the paper will seek to demonstrate that where the law strays too far from its liaison with justice, conscientious engagement with legal strategies are grounded in the experience of individuals and communities who dare to assert their rights, they not only offer the potential for justice, but restore a cautious confidence in the law to effect change.