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Research in the Department of Public Law spans a wide range of public law issues from the judiciary and judicial ethics to international criminal law and the international criminal court and from chiefs and traditional leadership to the presidency.


The focus of Cathy Powell's current work is terrorism and its interface with other aspects of law, including constitutional law, human rights law, international law, international criminal law and international constitutional law. She is currently working on the legislative powers of the United Nations Security Council in its anti-terrorism programme and has, in the past, looked at terrorism in the context of international criminal law, international humanitarian law and the International Criminal Court. In regard to the latter, she is also currently researching the defence of superior orders as codified in the Rome Statute.

International Criminal Law also provides the focus of Salim Nakhjavani's research. Salim, a former assistant legal adviser in the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court (ICC), is conducting research into the powers of the ICC Prosecutor, and into African approaches to the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of core international crimes.

Military law in South Africa has received virtually no scholarly attention despite a landmark judgment of the Constitutional Court concerning the status of military courts in Minister of Defence v Potsane 2002(1) SA 1 (CC). Now, Aifheli Tshivhase, who serves as a part-time military prosecution counsel for the South African Air Force, is working on a PhD in military law.

Dr Danwood Chirwa's research interests lie in the enforcement of socio-economic rights, privatisation, the responsibility of non-state actors for human rights, the African regional system of human rights, and children's rights. He is currently writing a book on the emerging human rights jurisprudence in Malawi.

Professor Christina Murray's most recent book, Advancing Women's Rights: the first decade of democracy (Juta 2005), was edited with Michelle O Sullivan. She has recently completed a paper on ethnicity and constitutional design in South Africa with Professor Richard Simeon of the University of Toronto and is now working on the constitutional law relating to culture in Africa and (as a separate project) Cabinet Government in South Africa. A longer term project, again in collaboration with Richard Simeon, concerns multilevel government in South Africa and the future of provincial government.

Professor Halton Cheadle is working on the 2007 update to the textbook, The South African Constitution: the Bill of Rights, of which he is the co-author with Professor Dennis Davis.

Richard Stacey's main interest is in Administrative Law and he is currently writing a paper on the extent to which principles of administrative justice apply to public sector employment relationships.

Chris Oxtoby is working on a paper examining the legal regime under which detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being held, with particular emphasis on the detainees right to prisoner of war status.

In addition, members of the Department have research interests in the judiciary (Prof Corder); fiscal federalism (Prof Murray); international private law (Prof Bennett); aboriginal title to land and its application in South Africa (Prof Bennett and Ms Powell); administrative law (Prof Corder); women and law (Prof Murray); constitution making (Prof Murray); and the intersection between administrative and labour law (Prof Cheadle).