Centre of Criminology
Criminology at UCT focuses on critical issues of safety, crime and policing, and their impact on human lives.
Centre for Law and Society
The Centre for Law & Society is focused on the challenges facing contemporary South Africa at the intersection of law and society. The Centre runs an excellent programme of talks, seminars, workshops, film screenings and discussions.
Democratic Governance and Rights Unit
The Democratic Governance and Rights Unit focuses on supporting judicial governance and providing free access to legal resources in Africa, with related projects such as the Judicial Institute of Africa and AfricaLII.
Refugee Rights Unit
The Refugee Rights Unit provides direct legal services to thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in the Western Cape each year; conducts research in refugee law and related topics; teaches refugee law to undergraduate law and postgraduate students...
Land and Accountability Research Centre
Land rights form the main focus of the Land and Accountability Research Centre, which provides strategic support to struggles for the recognition and protection of rights and living customary law in the former homeland areas of South Africa. LARC is...


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Welcome to Public Law

Public Law is the field of law focused on the relationship between individuals and government.  

Engaged in research and teaching in an exciting range of key public law areas, staff in the Department of Public Law are also members of Faculty research units.  Areas of expertise in the Department include (amongst other areas) Law & Society; Constitutional Law; Criminal Justice; Criminology; Human Rights; Governance & the Judiciary; Refugee Rights; Land issues; Access to Case Law; Administrative Law; and Marine & Environmental Law.

Cosmopolitan in terms of staff and student composition, the Department is known for its cutting edge research in specialised areas of Public Law. Staff are involved in exploring, educating and advising in areas associated with human rights, good governance and criminal justice, not just in the classroom but also on popular media platforms such as blogs, news op eds and social media.

The Department of Public Law does much of its socially responsive work through its active and engaged research units, focused on key issues related to Law.  These units include:

  1. The Land and Accountability Research Unit
  2. The Centre for Law & Society
  3. The Democratic Governance and Rights Unit
  4. The Refugee Rights Unit
  5. The Institute of Marine and Environmental Law
  6. The Centre of Criminology

View the links on the left to go directly to these hubs of social engagement.