Recent activities by Public Law staff

23 Feb 2016 - 09:45

A few Public Law staff members was actively busy participating in public talks, conferences and seminar during late November 2015 to January 2016. Please see their short reports  below-


Associate Professor Waheeda Amien

As a member of the Executive Body of the International Commission on Legal Pluralism, Assoc. Professor Waheeda Amien was part of the Organising Committee for a certified course on Legal Pluralism, which was offered at the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay from 10 to 12 December 2015. They also hosted an international conference on Legal Pluralism at the same institution from 14 to 16 December 2015. These courses and conferences are hosted every two years by the Commission in a different country.

In addition, she presented the following lecture at the abovementioned course and the following paper at the abovementioned conference:

Lecture entitled ‘Contextualising legal pluralism: Implications for gender, culture and freedom of religion’.

Paper presentation entitled ‘Religious arbitrations in South Africa: Implications for women’s rights’. 

From 17 to 22 January 2015, she was a member of the faculty of the Institute for Global Law and Policy, Harvard University, which offered a week long workshop for postgraduates and practitioners at the University of Cape Town's Law Faculty. During that week, she reviewed and commented on four papers.

Assoc. Professor Amien also presented a paper at a panel on Race, Law and Transformation on 23 January 2016, which was hosted by the Institute of Global Law and Policy, Harvard University and the Dean of the Law Faculty, UCT (held at Baxter Theatre, UCT). The paper was entitled ‘Race, Law and Transformation: An experiential account of the challenges faced by black academics in a historically white university


Dr Hannah Woolaver

Dr Hannah Woolaver engaged in a 3-year research project fully funded by the Australian Research Council examining the role of civil society actors in international criminal law, in collaboration with Dr Sarah Williams of the Law Faculty of the University of New South Wales, Australia. As part of the project, they organised and participated in a number of international meetings and conferences over late 2015 and early 2016. In late November 2015, they attended the Assembly of States Parties meeting of the International Criminal Court, where, along with observing proceedings of the ASP, the interviewed a number of State and civil society representatives on their perspectives concerning the influence of NGOs and other civil society groups at the ICC.

In December 2015, Dr Woolaver attended a conference at the Max Planck Institute for Public International Law in Heidelberg, Germany, where she presented a paper on the influence of international law in South African constitutional adjudication.

In January, Drs’ Williams and Woolaver organised a conference in conjunction with the Grotius Centre of the University of Leiden, which focused on the role of the amicus curiae before international criminal tribunals. This event brought together academics, judges, practitioners, and civil society actors to share views on this matter. 

Finally, Drs’ Williams and Woolaver were hosted by Doughty Street Chambers and Chatham House to present our ongoing research.  On Monday 25 January 2016, she, Dr Williams,  Williams, Kirsty Brimelow QC (Doughty Street Chambers) and Mark Ellis (International Bar Association) presented at an event entitled “Shaping the Law: Civil Society Influence at International Criminal Courts”, chaired by Geoffrey Robertson QC (Doughty Street Chambers). Her remarks focussed on the activities of South African civil society actors in international criminal justice issues in South Africa.

Dr Woolaver is look forward to a research visit to the University of New South Wales, Australia, in mid-2016 to continue her research collaboration with members of the Faculty there.


Professor Pierre de Vos

In January Professor Pierre de Vos, was invited on a speaking tour in the USA, and first delivered a paper at the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) annual general meeting, in New York on 8 January entitled “Difficulties with the use of a human rights framework in the fight for the emancipation of sexual minorities in Africa”. He then delivered a seminar before the South African Reading Group on 11 January, entitled: “Between promise and practice: Constitutionalism in South Africa more than 20 years after the advent of democracy,”

Professor de Vos delivered the following in January 2016-

  • 12 January  - He delivered a seminar at New York Law School entitled “(Mis) remembering the past: South Africa’s Constitutional Court and the limits of justice”
  • 14 January - He delivered a talk at the Cleveland Marshall College of Law entitled: “The Rights to be Different: The realisation of LGBTI rights in South Africa.”
  • 15 January - He delivered a public talk at the Case Western Reserve Law School on the same topic.