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Research Units

The Land and Accountability Research Unit

The Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC) is based in the University of Cape Town’s Faculty of Law.  LARC forms part of a collaborative network, constituted as the Alliance for Rural Democracy, 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 particularly interested by the ways in which laws and policies frame power relations within these areas and threaten ongoing initiatives for democratic change and accountability at the local level.

The Centre for Law & Society

The Centre for Law and Society (CLS) is an innovative multi-disciplinary centre in the Faculty of Law where scholars, students and activists engage critically with, and work together on, the challenges facing contemporary South Africa at the intersection of law and society. Through engaged research, critical teaching and robust exchange, CLS aims to shape a new generation of scholars, practitioners and activists, and to build the field of relevant legal theory, scholarship and practice, that is responsive to our context in South Africa and Africa.

The Democratic Governance and Rights Unit

The Democratic Governance and Rights Unit (DGRU) is one of Africa’s leading research centres specialising in the area of judicial governance. Based in the Department of Public law in the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town (UCT), our main focus is on supporting judicial governance and providing free access to legal resources in Africa.

The Refugee Rights Unit

The Refugee Rights Unit was founded in 1998 as a Project within the UCT Law Clinic, aimed at providing legal support services to the growing number of refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa. It has since evolved into a fully independent Unit, with four main components: the Unit's Refugee Law Clinic provides direct legal services to thousands of refugees and asylum seekers in the Western Cape each year; the Unit conducts applied research in refugee law and related topics; it teaches refugee law to undergraduate law and masters' students within the Department of Public Law; and, it undertakes a significant amount of targeted advocacy and training of government officials, the judiciary, civil society partners and refugee communities.

The Institute of Marine and Environmental Law

The mission of the Institute of Marine and Environmental Law is to conduct high quality research, teaching and consultancy work in the fields of marine and environmental law, and to produce publications and outputs of international excellence.

The Centre of Criminology

The Centre of Criminology is a cutting edge research and policy centre within the Faculty of Law at the University of Cape Town. The centre focuses on critical issues of safety, crime and policing, and their impact on human lives. With analysis reaching from the local to the global levels, the Centre of Criminology is one of the leading citizen safety research institutions in the Global South, stretching the boundaries of criminology in ways that recognise and respond to the changing international, regional, national and local landscape of risk.