(Including the Centre of Criminology; Institute of Marine and Environmental Law; Democratic Governance and Rights Unit; Law, Race and Gender Unit; and Refugee Rights Project)
Head of Department: Associate Professor DM Chirwa
The Department of Public Law (including the Centre of Criminology; Institute of Marine and Environmental Law; Law, Race and Gender Unit; Democratic Governance and Rights Unit; and Refugee Rights Project) continues to produce high level research in various areas, including constitutional law and human rights, environmental law, criminal law (both national and international), criminal procedure, evidence, policing, land rights and labour law. They were also involved in various law reform initiatives and in civil society research projects and campaigns in South Africa and abroad on various aspects of public law. For example, Prof Christina Murray was part of a committee that drafted the Constitution of Kenya, which was adopted by a referendum held on 4 August 2010. Prof Hugh Corder started working on the reform of administrative law in Namibia and hosted a workshop of leading academics and legal practitioners in administrative law to discuss the challenges facing this branch of law in South Africa. Prof Pierre de Vos launched the annual Claude Leon Foundation Human Rights Lecture, which was given by the Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo.
The Department continued to forge research links with foreign universities in Africa and elsewhere, such as the South-North partnership with the Universities of Warwick (UK) and Dares Salaam (Tanzania), which addresses one of the key issues of governance confronting emerging democracies in Africa: how to implement the constitutional choices made during a period of democratic transition, leading the research focus groups of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers.
The AFTRALAW project involving the Department and the University of Ghent (Belgium), which focuses on the role of traditional law and institutions in international cooperation programmes aimed at promoting transitional justice and the rule of law in Africa.