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Loretta Feris

Loretta Feris is professor of law in the Institute of Marine and Environmental Law. She joined the department of public law in July 2009. She holds a BA(law), LLB and LLD from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa and a LLM from Georgetown University in the USA. Previously she was associate professor of law at the University of Pretoria, where she was also a research associate at the Centre for Human Rights. Prior to joining the University of Pretoria, she was based at American University's Washington College of Law first as an international fellow and later as Assistant Director of the International Legal Studies Program. She remained an adjunct faculty member of this institution until 2006. She was also a senior research fellow at the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA). Loretta is an NRF rated researcher and her research interest includes environmental rights and trade and environment. Recently she started focusing on the connection between, space, identity and rights. She has served on a UNEP experts group that has drafted a model law on liability for environmental damage. Loretta has served on the board of the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA), is a Law Commissioner of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and a member of the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law where she served on the teaching and capacity building committee for three years. She was also the Western Cape regional representative of the ELA (the Environmental Law Association of South Africa) and serves on a number of editorial boards.


Teaching Areas:

natural resources law, pollution law and international environmental law.


Selected Publications:

  • Water and the Law, Towards Sustainability (2014). Co-edited with Kidd, Murombo and Iza.
  • "The Right to Sanitation: Time to Delink from the Right to Water." Human Rights Quarterly 36.3 (2014), 607-629. Co-authored with Keri Ellis.
  • A Customary Right to Fish when Fish are Sparse: Managing Conflicting Claims between Customary Rights and Environmental Rights” 16 (5) (2013) Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 555-614.
  • “Equality – Finding Space in the Environmental Discourse” Oñati Socio-. Legal Series 3 (5) [2013 online], 877-892
  • “Land Pollution” in Glazewski, Environmental Law in South Africa (2013). Co-authored with Louise Du Toit.
  •  “Environment and Human Rights: The Right to Water in South Africa and Scotland” in Reid & Visser (Eds) Private Law and Human Rights: Bridging Rights Home in Scotland and South Africa (2013). Co-authored with John Gibson.
  • “World Constitutionalism” in Klaus Bosselmann, Danie Fogel, and J. B. Ruhl (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Sustainability, 3 (2012), 512-514.
  •  “The public trust doctrine and liability for historic water pollution in South Africa” 8(1) (2012) Law, Environment and Development Journal 1.
  • “Towards Harmony between African Traditional Religion and Environmental Law” in Bennet (Ed) Traditional African Religions in South African Law (2011), 200 – 222. Co-authored with Moitui, C.
  •  “Multilateral Trade Policies and Measures in Post-Kyoto Structures” in Draper & Mbirimi (Eds) Climate Change and Trade (2010), 96 – 123.
  • Compendium of South African Environmental Legislation 2010. With Van der Linde L.
  • “The Role of Good Environmental Governance in the Sustainable Development of South Africa” 13 (2010) Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal.
  • “Trustees for the time being of the Biowatch Trust v Registrar Genetic Resources and Others: Access to information, costs awards and the future of public interest environmental litigation in South Africa" 18 (3) (2009) RECIEL, 338-346. Co-authored with Kotze L.
  • “Trade and Environment” in Environmental Management in South Africa Strydom & King (Eds) (2009), 269 – 293.
  • “Human Rights and Locus Standi” in Compliance and Enforcement in Environmental Law Patterson and Kotze (Eds) (2009), 129 – 151.
  • “A Rebellious Step in the Right Direction? A note on the dissenting judgement of Sachs J in Fuel Retailers Association of Southern Africa v Director-General Environmental Management, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Mpumalanga Province ” 15 (1) (2008) SAJELP, 157 - 168. (Appeared December 2009) Co-authored with Willemien Du Plessis.
  •  “Sustainable Development in Practice: Fuel Retailers Association of Southern Africa v Director-General Environmental Management, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment, Mpumalanga Province” 1 (2008) Constitutional Court Review.
  • The socio-economic nature of section 24(b) of the Constitution – Some thoughts on HTF Developers (Pty) Ltd v Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism 2006 5 SA 512 (T) 23 (1) (2008) SA Public Law 194.
  • “Constitutional Environmental Rights: An Under-utilised Resource” 24(1) (2008) South African Journal on Human Rights, 29-49.
  • “Who is to Blame? Liability and Redress Related to GMOs” in Jeffery, Firestone and Bubna-Litic (eds) Biodiversity, Conservation, Law and Livelihoods: Bridging the North-South Divide (2008).
  • South African Environmental Law through the Cases (2008). With Kotze, Du Plessis and Olivier
  • “The EC Biotech case and its Implications for Measures Affecting Genetically Modified Organisms” Stellenbosch Law Review Vol 18 (1) (2007), 118-132.
  • “The Protection of Biodiversity-related Trade Knowledge” International Environmental Law-making and Diplomacy Review 2006 (published 2007) University of Joensuu - UNEP Course Series 5, 2006.
  • “The Implications of the WTO’s EC-Biotech Case for SADC countries” in GMOS, Trade and Food Security in SADC Draper and Khumalo (Eds) SAIIA (2007).
  • “Compliance Notices, a New Tool in Enforcement”. 3 (2006) PER.
  • “Risk Management and Liability for Environmental Harm caused by GMOs – the South African Regulatory Framework” 1 (2006) PER.
  •  “Environmental Rights” in Socio-Economic Rights in South Africa: Analysis and Documents Christof Heyns and Danie Brand (Eds) (2005). Co-authored with Tladi.
  • “A Legal Framework for the Protection of Biodiversity Related Traditional Knowledge” 11 (2004) SAJELP.
  • Protecting Traditional Knowledge in Africa – Considering African Approaches” African Human Rights Journal Vol 4 (2) 2004.
  • “The Right to Access to Reproductive Health Care in the South African Constitution – A Real Victory for Women?” in Engendering Human Rights: Cultural and Socio-economic Realities in Africa, Obioma Nnaemeka and Joy Ezeilo (Eds) St Martin's Press, New York (2004)
  • “The Asbestos Crisis – The Need for Strict Liability for Environmental Damage” (1999) Acta Juridica 287 – 302.
  • “Turn-on or Turn off – Pornography in the Context of the Constitution” 9 (1998) Stellenbosch Law Review, 54 – 74. Co-authored with Bonthuys.