5 Best Law Schools in South Africa

Why study Law? For many reasons, numerous students study law mainly because it is in demand, a secure career, or perhaps there is a need for making a difference. Whatever the reason may be, law professionals are secured with a bright career ahead of them. Being a lawyer in South Africa can be interesting and challenging for its legal system is a combination of different legal forms. To be a lawyer in the country, it is common to first hold an LL.B. degree, have legal work experience, and pass the bar exam. In this article, we will be looking at the top law schools in South Africa.

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Best Law Schools in South Africa

1. University of Cape Town

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees offered: LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D.
  • Language of Instruction: English

The University of Cape Town Law School is the best law school in South Africa, claiming to have the highest employment rate where 62.1% of their graduates are employed on commencement. It holds essential facilities such as the Oliver Tambo Moot Court and its world-class law library, which contains important international databases and 85,000 books. Moreover, they have excellent professors, some of which are NRF rated and NRF A-rated researchers.

The Law School has three departments: Private Law, Public Law, and Commercial Law. Each department offers its own several programs in LL.B., LL.M., and Ph.d. Furthermore, the UCT Law Clinic offers a unique course called Legal Practice Course, one of the most important courses in the Faculty. This course provides supervised experiential participation in client-case management, where students partake in mock case trials.

2. University of Pretoria

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees offered: LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D.
  • Language of Instruction: English

The Faculty of Law of the University of Pretoria was officially established in 1918. Since then, the Law School has produced many great legal professionals serving private and public organizations, and the University of Pretoria law school is one of the top law schools in South Africa. It has considered itself a key-player in legal education, having produced the most degrees such as 179 master’s degrees and 35 Ph.D. degrees.

The university offers three undergraduate degrees in law: a full-time, four-year LL.B. degree; a three-year BA Law Degree under the Faculty of Humanities; and a three-year BCom Law Degree by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. Upon completion of an undergraduate program, students can pursue postgraduate degrees such as LL.M./MPhil and a full-time or part-time LL.D./Ph.D degree. They also offer LL.M. in Corporate Law presented by TuksLaw, which is the top LL.M. course in Africa for having been given the award as the best in the Africa Geographical Zone and it is also among the Top 200 Best Masters in Business and Commercial Law globally.

3. The University of Witwatersrand

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees offered: LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D.
  • Language of Instruction: English

Next on our list of best law schools in South Africa is the University of Witwatersrand Law School. Also known as Wits School of Law, this law school has existed for almost a hundred years since 1922 in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Faculty of Commerce Law and Management is situated at the West Campus of the university. One of the many notable alumni of the school is Nelson Mandela and Patrice Motsepe. Today, there are over 500 law students and 50 staff members. They provide three learning centers: the Wits Law Clinic, the Centre for Applied Legal Studies, and the Mandela Institute. Furthermore, the Law School is also affiliated with prestigious institutions such as Harvard University and the World Trade Organisation.

Wits School of Law provides three undergraduate programs: a three-year, full-time BA with Law; a three-year, full-time BCom with Law; and a two to four-year, full-time LL.B. Bachelor of Laws. After earning an undergraduate degree in law, students can choose from the postgraduate programs: Postgraduate Diploma in Law; Masters of Laws by Coursework and Research Report; Ph.D. in Law; and Masters of Law by Dissertation. The Masters of Laws is either a full-time, one-year course or a part-time, two-year course, which entails students to fulfill 10,000-word research, whereas a two or four-year Ph.D. in Law requires 70,000 to 100,000 words of a doctoral thesis.

4. The University of Johannesburg

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees offered: LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D.
  • Language of Instruction: English

The University of Johannesburg Law School was formed in 1971, which was first under the then Rand Afrikaans University. Afterward, the school established the university’s Law Clinic in 1991, now known as Soweto Law Clinic, and is considered to be South Africa’s first custom-built law clinic. Furthermore, students benefit from its Journal for South African Law (TSAR), the Law School’s own legal publication that is globally accepted and recognized and is among the country’s most extensive publications.

The Faculty of Law offers three bachelor’s degrees taken at the Auckland Park Kingsway Campus: BA in Law, BCom in Law, and LL.B. For postgraduate degrees, there are ten LL.M. by coursework degrees, 24 LL.M. by dissertation specializations, and 16 Doctor of Laws specializations. There are also short courses offered such as Short Learning Program in Business Rescue, Short Learning Program in Law and 4IR, and Career Enhancement in Law.

5. Stellenbosch University

  • Law School Link
  • Degrees offered: LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D.
  • Language of Instruction: Afrikaans, English

The final candidate in our list of best law schools in South Africa is the Stellenbosch Faculty of Law. It was established in 1921, which first started with two LL.B. degrees taught at the old Main Building of Stellenbosch University. It then opened its LL.M. degrees in 1976, eventually producing more degrees such as a Postgraduate Diploma in Tax Law and a Postgraduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law, and in the year 2020, it is introducing a new degree in Postgraduate Diploma in Public Procurement Policy and Regulation. Today, the Law School is divided into three departments: Department of Mercantile Law; Department of Private Law; and Department of Public Law. Bearing the value of research, the Law School has created three research clinics: the Anton Mostert Chair of Intellectual Property, the South African Research Chair in Property Law, and the HF Oppenheimer Chair in Human Rights Law.

The Law School only offers LL.B. as a second-degree, where 50% of the subjects are in Afrikaans. For the LL.M. degrees, it focuses on specializations on General Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution, Labor Law, International Trade Law, Intellectual Property Law and Public Procurement Policy and Regulation. The postgraduate degrees are taken full-time for a year or part-time completing the degree in two years maximum. It specializes in Intellectual Property Law, Public Procurement Policy and Regulation, and Tax Law.

 

I hope that this article on the best law schools in South Africa was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Law School Category!