The Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence prides itself on the extensive variety of courses it offers, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, as well as its strong record of high quality research. In addition to the courses that are traditionally regarded as public law and jurisprudence courses (i.e. Human Rights Law, Public International Law, Constitutional Law, Jurisprudence, Administrative Law and Legal Interpretation), the department presents a diverse menu of elective courses at undergraduate level, including, among others, Advanced Public Law, Environmental law, Gender Law, Regional Integration, and the South African Bill of Rights.
The list of postgraduate courses that the department offers is equally diverse. Students can choose to do any of the courses offered by the department (such as Environmental Law, International Protection of Human Rights, International Humanitarian Law, Children’s Rights, Gender Equality and Women’s Rights, Comparative Regional Integration and Development, as well as International Humanitarian Law) or they can enrol for any of the specialized coursework LLM and MPhil degrees, including, among others:
The Department of Public Law and Jurisprudence is the only department in South Africa that provides a stand-alone postgraduate course on International Humanitarian Law. Every year, the course attracts about 25 students from all over Africa and beyond.
Apart from the courses offered by the department, members of the department seek to keep pace with current events and developments in law and policy to ensure that their research is not only current but also has a substantive impact in practice. Members publish articles in peer-reviewed journals, produce academic monographs, and present papers at international conferences. Members are also often invited to speak at university seminars and serve at academic institutions beyond the university. Fields of research expertise include international humanitarian law, the rights of the child, constitutional theory, environmental law, disability law, religion and the state, and constitutional design. The department is furthermore home to a large number of doctoral students. Members of the department are responsible for organizing the doctoral support forum that brings together doctoral candidates to discuss mutual concerns and exchange feedback on their theses.
In addition to teaching and research, members of the department serve as editors and/or members of editorial boards of a range of South African and international journals. They also sit on the boards of NGOs, government bodies, and specialist organizations. This enables staff members to gain practical knowledge of civil society and to ensure that their research is relevant in practice. The department moreover has established relationships with international scholars and is proud to regularly house international scholars that are well established in their respective areas of expertise