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Director:  Dr D.Smythe

The Law, Race and Gender Unit (LRG) has worked, since its inception in 1993, to provide legal decision-makers with an understanding of the ways in which the history and social context of our country informs the creation, application and interpretation of our laws. The Unit focuses on producing excellent empirical studies of law in context, based on participatory methodologies and collaborative partnerships. They publish a work in progress series, called Issues in Law, Race & Gender and convene a very successful seminar series under the auspices of our Rural Women’s Action Research Project.

Over the years LRG has done research, developed a range of training materials, and conducted regular participatory workshops through which actors within the justice system are able to explore issues such as gender-based violence, racial discrimination and inequality, sexuality, ethics and various associated legal problems. Current work focuses on laws and practices affecting women living under customary law, including the Traditional Courts Bill and Communal Land Rights Act, and related governance issues. Our work reflects a continued commitment to sound research underpinning evidence-based advocacy on critical legal and social issues.

LRG hosts an externship project with Stanford University’s Stanford International Human Rights Clinic, receiving up to 4 final-year Stanford law students per quarter. They also convene the final year LLB research focus group on ‘Women and the Legal System’ and an LLM course on ‘Sexual Offences”.


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