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Faculties & Programmes

Faculty of Law

The Dean's Message

Welcome to the UWC Law Faculty!

The UWC Law Faculty was established as an independent Faculty in 1979 and has a proud history in the struggle against apartheid as well as providing an excellent education in law. Many of its former staff and alumni have occupied and today still occupy high positions in academia, the judiciary, parliament, the executive, the legal profession and in business.


The Faculty hosts a Law Clinic as well as four departments:
  • Criminal Justice and Procedure;
  • Mercantile and Labour Law;
  • Private Law; and
  • Public Law and Jurisprudence.
The Faculty is also home to:
  • the Dullah Omar Institute for Constitutional Law, Governance and Human Rights (DOI);
  • the Centre for Legal Integration in Africa (CLIA);
  • the Centre for Transformative Regulation of Work (Centrow), which includes the Social Law Project (SLP);
  • the African Centre for Transnational Criminal Justice; and
  • the Global Environmental Law Centre (GELC).
Our permanent academic staff members hail not only from South Africa, but from as far afield as Zimbabwe, Malawi, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Uganda, and the Netherlands. Our extraordinary and adjunct professors are located in the United States, Mozambique, Australia, Kenya, the Netherlands, France, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Ethiopia.

The Faculty hosts students from at least 25 countries on the African continent and beyond, including Ethiopia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Liberia, Zimbabwe, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Yemen, Cameroon, Congo, Namibia, Burundi, Sierra Leone, DRC, Zambia, Malawi, Lesotho, Mauritius, Spain, and Turkey.

The Faculty has approximately 2400 students, of whom about 80 are doctoral students and 280 Master’s students.  The Faculty has the expertise to provide supervision for doctoral degrees on a wide range of legal topics and offers specialised master’s degrees in law in a number of fields. The Faculty furthermore offers two postgraduate diplomas, which each take in around 50 new students every year:
  • a postgraduate diploma in labour law, and
  • a postgraduate diploma in public law.
In as far as undergraduate studies are concerned, the Faculty offers various paths towards attaining the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree including:
  • a four-year LLB programme, with 300 new entrants per year
  • a five-year LLB programme (extended curriculum programme), with 80 new entrants per year
  • a B Com (law) degree with 50 new entrants per year.
The Faculty also offers a Higher Certificate in Forensic Examination, which takes in around 80 students per year.

The law degrees on offer enable one to become inter alia an advocate, attorney, prosecutor, magistrate, judge, legal advisor, consultant, mediator, researcher, legal editor, lecturer or professor. Those with law degrees can also work in various government departments (national, provincial and local) and in Parliament. Other career options with a law degree are to work at Non-Governmental Organisations, Public Interest Organisations or international bodies such as the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund.

The Faculty is home to some of the best researchers in the country and currently has 15 National Research Foundation scholars, 7 of whom are B-rated.

Please join us in your journey towards a successful career in law.

Professor Jacques de Ville
Dean: Faculty of Law

History of Law Faculty

The history of the UWC Law Faculty starts with the establishment in 1960 of the University College of the Western Cape as a constituent college of the University of South Africa. A Department of Law was established in the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy in 1970, which presented the BA (law) and LLB degrees. A B.Com (law) degree was at the time presented by the Department of Commerce. In 1973, the Faculty of Commerce and Law was established. The Law Faculty became an independent faculty on 1 January 1979 when the Faculty of Commerce and Law was divided in two: the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and the Faculty of Law. The Law Faculty was first located in what is now the Education building, then in a ‘prefab’ building which burned down, and later in what is now the ‘old arts’ building. In 1992, the faculty moved to the current law building. The faculty today has approximately 2,100 students (about 250 of whom are postgraduate students) and 104 staff members, 44 of which are permanent academic appointments.

Mission, vision and values

Mission statement

The Faculty of Law is an intellectually vigorous, engaged and diverse faculty, with a vibrant culture of research, teaching and social engagement.

Vision statement

The Faculty of Law is committed to being a prominent law faculty, renowned nationally and internationally for its high quality research publications, specifically in certain niche areas, for its innovative ideas, for developing graduates within the minimum prescribed time who are committed to social justice, and are  well-qualified, workplace-ready, technologically equipped and have adaptive expertise for the 21st century, as well as for its extensive social engagement.


The core values which the faculty staff and students embrace are the pursuit of justice, ethical conduct and integrity, respect for diversity, transparency and accountability in decision-making, as well as and excellence in research and teaching.

We play a pivotal role in the education of law students, as we teach the core courses in the Bachelor of Laws (LLB) syllabus. These are: Criminal Law, the Law of Criminal Procedure, the Law of Civil Procedure, and the Law of Evidence. The latter three are the so-called “tools of the trade”, as they include equipping the prospective lawyer with the know-how required to litigate cases in court.
The Department of Mercantile and Labour Law introduces students to the world of commercial and business law. The department’s focus is on developing students’ critical thinking skills and supplying them with practical, transferable capabilities to positively contribute to the legal profession or corporate field.
The Department of Private Law offers a full complement of courses at undergraduate level and selected courses at postgraduate level. These courses are presented by experienced and highly-regarded law teachers who use contemporary and innovative teaching and assessment methodologies to enhance their students’ learning experiences. The department also possesses considerable supervision expertise in regard to LLM theses as well as LLD/PhD dissertations.
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 as well as legal interpretation), the department presents a diverse menu of elective courses at undergraduate level, including, among others advanced public law, environmental law, gender law, and the South African Bill of Rights.
Globalisation and technology have opened new opportunities for transnational criminal activities to target states and organisations. To combat these crimes, their cross-border character and transnational impact call for ever-greater inter-state cooperation.

Our web channel highlights our engagement with these challenges, and provides visitors with news, blogs, listings of our publications, and external resources.
Our newly launched Centre conducts pioneering research on the dialogue between state laws and indigenous African laws. Policy-makers everywhere will do well to focus on this dialogue, which offers a platform for the integration of legal orders in sub-Saharan Africa.

Our web channel highlights our engagement with the challenges and opportunities related to this, and provides visitors with news, blogs, listings of our publications, and external resources.
The Centre for the Transformative Regulation of Work (CENTROW) was established by in November 2020 by the Law Faculty of the University of the Western as a knowledge hub positioned to contribute to shaping policy and legislation on the future of work in South Africa. It is envisaged that specific problem areas in the field of labour market law and regulatory policy will be addressed through research projects grounded in social compact partnerships.
Global environmental degradation in the Anthropocene is a crisis that requires an innovative and radical legal response.
Our web channel highlights our efforts to contribute to that response, and provides visitors with news, blogs, listings of our publications, and external resources.
The Dullah Omar Institute is a unit of the Faculty of Law. It conducts research and advocacy and offers postgraduate programmes in constitutional law, governance and human rights.
This niche area builds on ground-breaking shifts that have taken place in law and policy consequent upon the ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child 30 years ago.