The University of Pretoria Faculty of Law was established in 1908 and consists of five academic departments, six centres, two law clinics and its own publisher the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP). The faculty offers the undergraduate LLB degree, the postgraduate LLM and LLD degrees as well as several continuing education courses.

The Oliver R Tambo Law Library houses the faculty's collection of legal materials and the Law of Africa collection in the library is the single most comprehensive and current collection of primary legal materials of African countries.[4]

The faculty organises the annual African and World Human Rights Moot Court Competition and in 2006, the faculty's Centre for Human Rights received the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education.[5] Since 1997, the university as a whole has produced more research outputs every year than any other institution of higher learning in South Africa, as measured by the Department of Education's accreditation benchmark.[6]


The proposal for a university for the capital, first mooted in the Volksraad in 1889, was interrupted by the outbreak of the Anglo Boer War in 1899. In 1902 after the signing of the Peace of Vereeniging, the Normal College for teacher training was established in Groenkloof, Pretoria and in 1904 the Transvaal Technical Institute, with emphasis on mining education, opened in Johannesburg. In 1906 the Transvaal Technical Institute changed its name to the Transvaal University College.[7] On 4 March 1908 when the Transvaal University College (TUC) transferred its arts and science courses to its newly established Pretoria Campus the precursor to the university was established, initially offering courses in languages, sciences, and law.[8][9]


Faculty of Law building
The University of Pretoria Old Arts building

The faculty offers the undergraduate LLB degree and the postgraduate LLM and LLD programmes. The undergraduate BCom (Law) and BA (Law) degrees are presented by the faculties of Economic and Management Sciences and Humanities respectively. After completing either the three-year BCom (Law) or BA (Law) degree students may apply to complete the LLB degree in two years rather than the traditional four years for an LL.B, a practice that is recommended by the faculty.[10]

LLM programmes by coursework and research cover all the traditional legal fields namely procedural law, private law, public law, mercantile law, corporate law, labour law and criminal law as well as specialised master programmes like socio-economic rights: theory and practice, human rights and democratisation in Africa, international trade and investment law in Africa, child law, international air, space and telecommunication law and intellectual property law amongst others. LLD programmes cover procedural law, legal history, comparative law and legal philosophy, mercantile law, public Law, private law and human rights.[11]

Continuing education short courses are presented in the fields of child law, commercial law, general law, insolvency law, labour law, legislative drafting and sports law.[12]

Centres, units and institutes

Centres, Units & Institutes in the faculty include the Centre for Advanced Corporate & Insolvency Law, Centre for Child Law, Centre for Human Rights, Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Centre for Medicine & Law, Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa and Sports Law Centre in Africa. The Centres, Units & Institutes have a research and academic purpose.

Centre for Human Rights

The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, is an organisation dedicated to promoting human rights on the continent of Africa. The Centre, founded in 1986, promotes human rights through educational outreach, including multinational conferences, seminars and publications such as Human Rights Law in Africa, The African Human Rights Law Journal, the African Human Rights Law Reports and The Constitutional Law of South Africa. The Centre, which was founded during Apartheid, assisted in adapting a Bill of Rights for South Africa and contributed to creating the South African Constitution.[13] In 2006, the Centre received the UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education.[5]

Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa

The Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa (ICLA), established at the beginning of 2011, is a research institute located in the Faculty of Law with Professors Erika de Wet and Christof Heyns (the United Nations Special Rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions) being appointed as Co-Directors.[4]

The ICLA co-ordinates the Oxford Constitutions Online African country reports and collaborates with the Centre for Human Rights to co-ordinate the Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts (ILDC) Online African case law.[4]

Centre for Child Law

The Centre for Child was established in 1998 and is enjoys recognition as a law clinic by the Law Society. Established in 2003 the Centre's Children's Litigation Project acts as amicus curiae in litigation in relation to children's rights through, appearing in several cases before the North and South Gauteng High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and Constitutional Court.[14][15]

Moot Court Competitions

Moot court Institution Founded Location
African Human Rights Moot Court Competition Organised by the University of Pretoria Faculty of Law 1992 Held at participating law schools across the African continent
South African National Schools Moot Court Competition Organised annually by a different grouping of law schools 2011 National oral rounds take place at the University of Pretoria Faculty of Law, Pretoria and the finals at the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg
World Human Rights Moot Court Competition Organised by the University of Pretoria Faculty of Law 2009 Pretoria
African Trade Moot Organised by the University of Pretoria Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape Pretoria and Cape Town
Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition Organised by the International Institute of Space Law The Africa Regional Round is hosted by the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, University of Pretoria Faculty of Law

Pretoria University Law Press

The Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), situated within the Faculty of Law, endeavours to publish and distribute advanced scholarly legal texts in English, Afrikaans, French, Arabic and Portuguese.<ref[>"Pretoria University Law Press". University of Pretoria. </ref>[16] PULP publishes a series of collections of legal documents related to African public law and legal text books from other African countries and is a member of the Publishers' association of South Africa.[17]

Student Activities

Law students participate in the following activities:

  • The Constitutional Tribunal is the judicial body of student governance and adjudicates disputes primarily between student organisations and its judge’s sit on the panel of student disciplinary hearings.
  • The Pretoria Student Law Review (PSLR), published by PULP, is student driven and administered initiative providing an interactive student platform for to discuss topical legal matters.[18]
  • Law House provides a platform for social engagement, community outreach and student engagement with the faculty.
  • Several internal and external moot court competitions through the Moot and Debating Society.
  • Educating Prisoners About Human Rights (EPHAR) which engages unsentenced offenders to inform them about their fundamental human rights and responsibilities.
  • The Language Centre which assist other students in the development of their language skills under the guidance of admitted attorneys.
  • The Student Disciplinary Advisory Panel (SDAP) may give advice to students appearing in front of student disciplinary hearings regarding the nature of the procedure of student disciplinary hearings.


Well known alumni include:[19]

See also


  1. ^ web.up.ac.za/default.asp?ipkCategoryID=2History of the University of Pretoria http:.
  2. ^ History of the University of Pretoria.
  3. ^ "Oom Gert". University of Pretoria. 
  4. ^ a b c "About the ICLA". University of Pretoria. 19 January 2012. 
  5. ^ a b Europe Intelligence Wire. (2003-Jan-07) UNESCO awards Czech film festival One World
  6. ^ http://web.up.ac.za/UserFiles/UP%20in%20a%20Nutshell(1).pdf
  7. ^ "University of Pretoria Historical Overview". University of Pretoria. 
  8. ^ "Universiteit Van Pretoria". Britannica.com. 
  9. ^ "Special Edition in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Geology Department at the University of Pretoria". Sajg.geoscienceworld.org. 1 September 2008. 
  10. ^ "LLB (Law)". University of Pretoria. 1 March 2012. 
  11. ^ "Fields of Study". University of Pretoria. 5 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Short Courses
  13. ^ UNESCO, Human Rights and Gender Equality Section, Division of Human Rights, Human Security and Philosophy. (2006-Dec-11) University of Pretoria's Centre for Human Rights wins 2006 UNESCO Prize for Human Rights Education portal.unesco.org.
  14. ^ "Centre for Child Law". University of Pretoria. 
  15. ^ "Our Cases". Centreforchildlaw.co.za. 28 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Message from the Dean". University of Pretoria. 11 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "PULP". Publishsa.co.za. 
  18. ^ "Pretoria Student Law Review". University of Pretoria. 
  19. ^ "Alumni". University of Pretoria. 10 July 2012. 
  20. ^ "Justice Johann van der Westhuizen". Constitutional Court of South Africa. Retrieved 2008-11-09. 
  21. ^ a b "Johann Van der Westhuizen". Whoswhosa.co.za. 
  22. ^ Constitutional Court of South Africa profile
  23. ^ "Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions". University of Pretoria. 27 October 2011. 
  24. ^ "Prof Dire Tladi". Sun025.sun.ac.za.