This contribution examines access to the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in the first decade of its operation. Compared with other regional human rights Courts over the corresponding period, the African Court has decided more contentious cases. Direct access accounts for this difference. Acceptance by States of optional direct access is a necessary but insufficient condition for actual access. The reasons for the Commission's reluctance to refer cases, which hampered indirect access to the Court, are investigated. Although the Court's advisory jurisdiction has found limited application, it has welcomed amici curiae and showed some acceptance of the role of original complainants before the Court.