Faculty News

 Faculty News



"Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Democracy and Freedom"

The Gauteng Office of the Human Rights Commission hosted a celebratory event during human rights month in March: "Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Democracy and Freedom". The commission extended an honorary invitation to ten students, nominated from various universities, to give a presentation and participate in a discussion surrounding 'What 20 years of democracy and freedom means in South Africa today'. The Law faculty represented the University of Johannesburg at this prestigious event where a critical analysis was given, focussing on three main areas, namely: Culture and Religion, Politics and Human Rights. Discussing this under the theme of our past, quo vadis, because to know where we are going, is to know where we come from…


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From left:  Dr Mispa Roux; Thato Lentsoe; Nikelo Tyana; Melina Lekganyane; Sharise Smith; John Manganye; Akhona Bilatyi; Muneer Tootla and Fortunate Makamu



UJ Law hosts Justice Edwin Cameron 
On Monday 17 March 2014 the Law Faculty, together with the UJ Library, hosted Judge Edwin Cameron for an open discussion on amongst others his newly published book, Justice: A personal account. More than 220 guests attended this event held at the University of Johannesburg. It was a lovely, spirited and intense engagement with your students and other audience members, which I thoroughly enjoyed – Judge Edwin Cameron
Former human rights lawyer and current Constitutional Court Justice Edwin Cameron is still the only public office bearer in South Africa and the rest of Africa to have made public his HIV status. He is a justice in South Africa’s highest court, The Constitutional Court. Cameron has authored a number of books and has received numerous awards and distinctions. These include honorary fellowships of the Society for Advanced Legal Studies in London and Keble College, Oxford, the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights (2000) and the San Francisco Aids Foundation Excellence in Leadership Award for 2003. In 2002 the Bar of England and Wales honoured him with a special award for his contribution to international jurisprudence and the protection of human rights.
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UJ Professor comments on Oscar Pistorius case
Prof Mia Swart coordinates and teaches the LLM programme in International Law at the University of Johannesburg. View a recent interview with her regarding the Oscar Pistorius case on the breakfast show "dagbreek"  here... She was also interviewed on the news channel eNCA, view that interview here...
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Seminar on Contract Law for Engineers and Project managers
An international seminar on Contract Law for Engineers and Project managers was recently held in Namibia. Prof Charl Hugo, expert in Banking Law and director of the Centre for Banking Law at the University of Johannesburg, was a speaker this event.
Baroness Patricia Scotland- Public lecture on racial and gender equality
British barrister and the first black woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel and former member of the Commission for Racial Equality, Patricia Scotland, visited South Africa in the first week in March 2014. She presented a public lecture on Development in the United Kingdom around racial and gender equality, at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday, 04 March, 2014.
Hosted by the University’s Faculty of Law, in partnership with the University’s Library and Information Centre, Baroness Scotland gave insight into racial and gender equality in the United Kingdom. Baroness Patricia Scotland was born in the Commonwealth of Dominica and made history in 1991 by becoming the first black woman to be appointed a Queen's Counsel and was a member of the Commission for Racial Equality. She was the Minister responsible for civil justice and the reform of civil law. In 2003, Baroness Scotland was appointed as Minister of State for the Criminal Justice system and Law Reform at the Home Office and deputy to the Home Secretary. She was the Chief legal adviser to Her Majesty the Queen, Parliament and the Government. In November 2012, she was appointed Prime Ministerial Trade Envoy to South Africa. She is currently a president of Chatham House.
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 Baroness Patrica Scotland
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Newly appointed partner/director at Bowman Gilfillan
Ms Kirsten Kern, senior lecturer in the Department of Private Law, was promoted to partner / director at Bowman Gilfillan (Department Banking and Finance) as from 1 March 2014. Ms Kern teaches the module Law of Contract to LLB students at UJ.
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Law Professor chosen as member of UNIDROIT

Prof Jan L Neels of the Faculty of Law was recently chosen as member of the Governing Council of UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law), an intergovernmental organisation of 63 countries in Rome, Italy (www.unidroit.org). He obtained 89% of the votes of the Member States during the General Assembly meeting of UNIDROIT held on 5 December 2013. Prof Neels was nominated as South Africa’s candidate by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. UNIDROIT is well-known as the formulating agency of various conventions and other instruments in the field of international commercial law, including the UNIDROIT Principles of International Commercial Contracts.
Hennie web.jpgNRF Research Chair in International Law
During the first term of 2014 the NRF Research Chair in International Law will host two visiting scholars from abroad, namely Prof Alexander Mezyaev from the University of Kazan, Russia and Dr Vasilka Sancin from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.

UJ Faculty of Law welcomes 2013 LLM students


The UJ Faculty of Law welcomed some of their new LLM students on  29 January 2014 at a cocktail function held at the Council Chambers, APK. The Faculty offers numerous specialised Master of Laws programmes such as the LLM in Banking Law, Commercial Law, Corporate Law, Human Rights, International Commercial Law, International Law and Labour Law.

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LLM students and lecturers 2014



Successful Law FYS programme

The Faculty of Law hosted another successful FYS programme aimed at orientating new students and preparing them for their studies ahead. Numerous well known law firms and industry partners addressed the students during a week of informative sessions.  Some of the parties involved included: The NPA, Adv JJ du Toit, Adv Zaais van Zyl, Hogan Lovells and Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyer. UJ’s own Prof Jannie Otto (previous Dean of the Faculty and renowned researcher) also shared his expertise with a motivational talk within the “my career in Law” session.


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Presenters at the 2014 FYS programme


Between 10 and 12 October 2013, two English teams and two Afrikaans teams represented the University of Johannesburg at the Kovsie first year moot court Competition in Bloemfontein. The competition is arranged by the University of the Free State as a way of bringing first year law students from different universities around the country together in order for them to compete with one another in a court environment very similar to what one would encounter in practice as a legal professional, with the students having drafted comprehensive heads of argument and having undergone extensive oral advocacy training beforehand.
Under the supervision of team leader Warren Bowles, and with the dedicated help of three senior law students with extensive moot court experience, namely Ben Cripps, Nicholas Potgieter and Elizabeth Sonnekus, the teams took part in sessions against various universities from around South Africa in the Free State High Court and they also had the opportunity to engage with other students as well as experienced legal professionals at the Supreme Court of Appeal throughout the competition. Team members included: Liam Sebanz, Melissa Jansen van Vuuren, Simpiwe Gqibani, Buntle Khumalo, Sharise Smith, Eduané Neethling, Dewald Steenkamp and Cherney Spangenberg.
At the awards evening, the University of Johannesburg was announced as the winner for the best heads of argument in both the English and Afrikaans categories. The university was commended for being the first university in the competition’s history to achieve this milestone, and all our participants were commended by judges and competitors alike for their all-round performance and professionalism throughout the competition.
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Moot court winners
UJ Law lecturer appointed as Judge of High Court of Malawi 

In June 2013, the President of the Republic of Malawi, Dr. Joyce Banda, upon the recommendation of the Judicial Service Commission, appointed Mr Redson Edward Kapindu, a lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, as Judge of the High Court of Malawi. Justice Kapindu was sworn into office in July 2013, and will assume his judicial responsibilities in Malawi immediately upon the end of his contract with the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in December 2013. 
Read more about his career here...Redson Kapindu.pdfRedson Kapindu.pdf



 Justice Kapindu, taking the Judicial Oath


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ATKV-SA-Akademieprys vir 'n wetenskaplike artikel in Afrikaans aan prof. J.C. Sonnekus Die ATKV-SA Akademieprys vir 'n wetenskaplike artikel in Afrikaans is deur die ATKV in oorleg met die Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns ingestel om die skryf van wetenskaplike artikels in Afrikaans te bevorder.  Prof. Jean Sonnekus is verbonde aan die Departement Privaatreg, Universiteit van Johannesburg. Die prys is aan prof. Sonnekus toegeken vir sy artikel Grense aan kontrakvryheid vir eggenote én voornemende eggenote? (deel 1) wat in die Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg verskyn het.



Law 1st year TOP-achiever

Not only was David Mpumelelo awarded the prize of the Faculty of Law’s 1st year top-achiever on Friday 13 Sept. 2013, he was also awarded the prize for best male 1st year student within UJ and ranked the 5th best 1st year student within UJ overall!  David boasts with an average of 88.7%!
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David Mpumelelo


UJ wins National Moot Court competition

One of UJ’s undergraduate moot court teams won the Child Moot Court competition in Sept 2013, beating students who have completed their LLB and Masters degrees from UCT, UP, Rhodes and other Universities across SA! Such an exceptional  achievement!  
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 Moot court participants and their coaches



Considering the aftermath of Marikana - Seminar

To commemorate the one year anniversary of the Marikana massacre the Department of Public Law hosted an interdisciplinary seminar on the 16th of August 2013.
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During July 2013, Mr Eddie Hanekom (Director of the UJ Law clinic), was elected as a member of the Executive of SAULCA (South African University Law Clinics Association). SAULCA was previously known as “AULAI” (Association of University Legal Aid Institutions). Mr Hanekom is passionate about making a difference in students’ clinical legal education and access to justice for less fortunate communities.
The UJ Law clinic is without a doubt a leader in terms of the above mentioned!
SAULCA’s vision is to be a professional and efficient organisation committed to the values of the South African Constitution and dedicated to promoting excellence in clinical legal education and access to justice for all.
Faculty of Law reaches out


Mandela Day was first introduced in 2009, on Madiba’s birthday, to encourage people to dedicate 67 minutes of their time to making the world a better place. The Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg once again celebrated Mandela Day on 18 July 2013 by contributing to the various University activities planned at the Helen Joseph Hospital.

Both students and lecturers of the Law Faculty rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty; from scrubbing pots in the kitchen to playing with the kids at the crèche. As Prudence Pullen-Lalla, programme co-ordinator at the Faculty of Law, stated “it was hard work, but definitely worth it”. Other initiatives included artwork for kids and painting hospital wards, cooking and dishwashing, reading and distributing library books, distributing food hampers and a clean-up campaign for the hospital, including gardening services.

Another valuable contribution from the Law Faculty’s side was the distribution of informative brochures regarding basic human rights. Knowledge is power and by knowing your rights and respecting the rights of others, upliftment, empowerment and the promotion of certain values are sure to take place. It is essential that everyone in our country understands their rights, including underprivileged groups within our society.

It is important that we do not only engage in such activities on selected days such as Mandela Day, but rather to aspire to change the world for the better by empowering communities everywhere and by making “Every Day a Mandela Day”.

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 Staff and students from the Faculty of Law


Dr Barack Obama has accepted the University’s award on him of the Honorary Doctorate of Laws. The Vice Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Professor Ihron Rensburg, announced that Dr Barack Obama has duly informed the University that he has accepted the University’s award on him of the Honorary Doctorate of Laws.


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President Obama at a recent visit to UJ's Soweto campus



The Department of Public Law at the University of Johannesburg recently hosted a public lecture by Adv. Jeremy Guantlett SC on 'Freedom's children? Universities and the executive 20 years on'. Is there a constitutional right to academic freedom? The lecture reflected on the December 2012 amendments to the Higher Education Act, the failure to consult with the universities on these, and the extended powers of intervention now given to the Minister of Higher Education to dissolve Councils and assume direct control of universities.


Read more about the topic and what was said at the lecture here (as reported on the moneyweb site).

Prof M Swart and Adv Jeremy Gauntlett SC

Prof Mia Swart and Adv. Jeremy Gauntlett SC


UJ Professor announced as Secretary-General of the IACL

At its recent executive committee meeting in Rio De Janeiro, during April 2013, Prof David Bilchitz was unanimously elected to the position of Secretary-General (Acting) of the International Association of Constitutional Law (IACL). Prof Bilchitz will hold the position until the World Congress of the Association takes place in July 2014 in Oslo, Norway.  The overriding objective of the IACL (as described on its web-site) is  to provide a forum in which constitutionalists from all parts of the world can begin to understand each other’s systems, explain and reflect on their own, and engage in fruitful comparison, for a variety of purposes. The Secretary-General is one of the most important positions in the association and the incumbent must be an internationally respected academic in the field of constitutional law. The Secretary General is responsible for ensuring the efficient organisation and running of the association and in ensuring efficient administration of its activities.  The IACL has a long association with the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (a Centre of the University of Johannesburg) of which Professor Bilchitz is the director. Prof Bilchitz has previously been the African Regional Co-ordinator of the IACL project on Socio-Economic rights and has to this end organised and functioned as a constitutional expert in two workshops held for legal profession in Kenya on the socio-economic rights provisions in the new Constitution in light of comparative constitutional law. He has also supervised a joint project and research with the Socio-Economic Rights Institute on possible litigation relating to the right to food. 

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 ​Prof David Bilchitz



“On being human in the 21st century: where is scientific thinking taking us?”
The African-German Year of Science has come to an end during the week of 15 – 19 April 2013 with an official gathering at ministerial level in Germany. As part of this event the Alexander von Humboldt Association of South Africa (AHASA) has organised a series of lectures at the University of Johannesburg under the title:
On being human in the 21st century: where is scientific thinking taking us?  Participating in the event were existing Von Humboldt bursary holders from various universities in South Africa and other African countries as well as a number of young academics who may become Alexander von Humboldt scholars in the near future.
 NRF research chair. Prof Hennie Strydom
From left: Dr Thomas Scheidtweiler (Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Bonn, Germany); Prof Willie Cronje (Engineering, Wits); Prof Ernst Uken (Cape Peninsula University of Technology); Prof Hennie Strydom (UJ Faculty of Law and Representative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in South Africa); Dr Heather Marco (Zoology, UCT and Representative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in South Africa).



UJ Law students compete internationally
Three law students at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), recently, showcased their advocacy skills on the international stage when they competed in, one of the most prestigious international Moot court competitions in the world, the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot, in Vienna, Austria.
More than 295 teams from over 65 countries around the world competed, before top international judges and attorneys, for the esteemed overall title.
Representing South Africa, UJ’s team, Benjamin Cripps; Nicholas Potgieter and David Britz, all final year Law students, faced teams from the University of Lorraine (France), the University of Kozminski (Poland), the University of Parana (Brazil) and the Free University of Tsibisi (United States).
Read the full article
  International Moot court contestants
Two of the moot court competition participants, Ben Cripps and David Britz
Another successful ABLU™ was presented by the Centre for Banking Law at the University of Johannesburg.  It was founded in 1978 by Judge FR Malan of the SCA, then Director of the Centre.  It reviews developments in:Banking and financial law, Corporate law, Consumer and credit law, Contract law, Insolvency and insurance law, Competition law and Intellectual property law.
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International guest shares expertise at Faculty seminar
Prof MM Martinek of the University of Saarland in Germany and honorary professor of the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg delivered a paper on the proposed Regulation on a Common European Sales Law at a faculty seminar on 25 February 2013.
Prof MM Martinek and Prof Jan Neels 
Prof MM Martinek and Prof J Neels
Young graduates conference 


UJ Student chosen to go to Oxford for AU Challenge
The Africa Institute of South Africa  (AISA) conference was a great success and one of our law students, Ms Itumeleng Mukhovha, is part of the group of 4 students who won the AU debate challenge to represent their respective Universities at Oxford in July 2013 . The students that participated was facilitated through the PGC. This is a great accolade for UJ and the Law Faculty. 
 Itumeleng Mukhovha
Itumeleng Mukhovha  
 Adv EEsa Frederics


Adv Eesa Fredericks (HOD of the Department of Practical Business Law and senior lecturer in the Department of Private Law) represented South Africa during the Expert Meeting on Jurisdiction and the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgements under the auspices of the Hague Conference on Private International Law, held 21-22 February 2013 in The Hague.

Adv Eesa Frederics 



Law students rub shoulders with Justice Mokgoro

First year Law students had the privilege of being addressed by Justice Yvonne Mokgoro as part of their 2013 First Year Seminar in a “My career in Law” session.
Justice Yvonne Mokgoro stepped down from the bench at the Constitutional Court having served a full 15 year term.  She now serves as Judge in the Office of the Chief Justice.  She also serves on a number of law bodies, trusts and boards. She has taught Law at South African, British, American and Dutch universities, and she holds a number of honorary Professorships and doctorates in South Africa and abroad.
A truly inspirational woman!


Justice Yvonne Mokgoro 
 Prof Jan Neels, Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, Prof George Mpedi




Exceptional bursary awarded to UJ Law student!


DALRO (The Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation) has awarded a bursary of R70 000 to a UJ Law student for the study of Intellectual Property as part of the LLM degree. This DALRO is responsible for the administration of the use of copyrighted works, and the enforcement of the rights of the creators of the Intellectual Property.  The student must also complete a dissertation on a subject from the field of copyright law.
Lisa Lumley, the student that was awarded the bursary completed her BCOM Law and LLB degrees (cum laude). In her final year of the LLB she found the subject Intellectual Property to be extremely interesting and challenging. She feels her lecturer, Professor Wim Alberts, demonstrated such a passion for this subject and invoked her interest in this specialized field.  
I feel so honored to be awarded this masters bursary. I am so grateful to DALRO for such generosity and this amazing opportunity to further my studies in Intellectual Property - Lisa
Lisa Lumley 
Ms Yolande Dwarika (DIRCO) and Prof Jan L Neels (UJ) representing South Africa at the Special Commission of the Hague Conference on Private International Law on the draft Hague Principles on the Choice of Law in International Contracts during November 2012. 
Prof Jan Neels in Hague 
Beijing delegation visits UJ
A delegation from the School of Law of Beijing Normal University, including the Dean, visited the Faculty of Law at the University of Johannesburg. A seminar was held on the criminal justice system in China and a cooperation agreement was concluded. The delegation from the Beijing Normal University consisted of Prof. Zhao Bingzhi (Dean of the College for Criminal Law Science and the Law School), Prof. Wang Xiumei (assistant of the Dean of the College for Criminal Law Science), Prof. Lu Jianping (Executive Dean of the College for Criminal Law Science), Prof. Song Yinghui (Vice-Dean of the College for Criminal Law Science), Prof. Liu Guangsan (College for Criminal Law Science) and Prof. Wang Zhixiang (College for Criminal Law Science).


Beijing Normal University delegation 
Representatives from the School of Law of Beijing Normal University as well as the Law Faculty of the University of Johannesburg





The UJ Law Clinic won the above-mentioned first prize at the "UJ Alumni & Community Engagement Awards evening".
The evening was hosted by Prof. Ihron Rensburg and Prof. Adam Habib. Prof. Derek van der Merwe also attended this prestigious event along with alumni who have made ​​a mark in society.
During 2012 (and for the first time) a comprehensive investigation had been conducted into the state of community engagement in the UJ. This study was done under the guidance of an external consultant. Winning this award is an outstanding achievement with the clinic performing exceptionally well even though they work under extreme pressure. Read more here.
Law clinic team 
UJ Law Clinic team




International Labour Law and Social Protection Conference

From 27-30 August various international and national labour law experts participated in an International Labour Law and Social Protection Conference, hosted by the Faculty of Law and the Centre for International and Comparative Labour and Social Security Law (CICLASS). The theme of the conference was The Changing Face Of Work: Challenges For Regulation. The event took place at the Madibeng Council Chambers at the Kingsway Campus of the UJ. The main categories of topics covered were: First, flexibility and security; secondly, regulating the informal economy (including domestic work); and thirdly responding to migration.


The key note speakers were Prof Dr Manfred Weiss (Frankfurt, Germany) who delivered the opening address (‘Challenges for Labour Law’), Prof Sir Bob Hepple (Cambridge, United Kingdom) who gave a historical comparative overview of dismissal law (‘The Changing Purposes and Possible Future Directions of Dismissal Laws: A comparative perspective’), Prof Dr Paul Blyton and Dr Jean Jenkins (Cardiff, Wales) who presented an industrial relations perspective on the changing world of work (‘It’s About Time: Flexibility, Working Hours and Uncertainty’), Prof E Eichenhofer (Jena, Germany) presented a social protection input (‘Informal work and Protection by Social Security and Social Assistance’) as well as Prof André van Niekerk (Visiting Professor and Judge in the Labour Court, South Africa) who delivered a thought-provoking contribution entitled ‘Is the South African Law of Unfair Dismissal Unjust? A reply to Martin Brassey “Fixing the Laws that Govern the Labour Market” (2012) 33 ILJ 1’. Other contributions to the conference were of a high standard and covered important topics (including challenges faced by labour and social protection law due to turbulent economic markets in a global environment, proposed statutory amendments etc). The programme allowed sufficient time for debate and discussion and participants agreed that it was a constructive and valuable gathering of people working in the fields of labour law and social protection.  


Labour Law conference 
Delegates from more than 10 countries attended the conference



Professor Wim Alberts from the Department of Mercantile Law has been appointed as a director to the Board of DALRO (Dramatic, Artistic and Literary Rights Organisation). DALRO is a multi-purpose copyright society, which administers various aspects of copyright on behalf of authors and publishers. 


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