Prof David Bilchitz is Professor at the University of Johannesburg and Director of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (SAIFAC). Prof Bilchitz is currently Secretary-General of the International Association of Constitutional Law, and was elected to this position at the World Congress of the IACL in Oslo in June 2014 after having served as Acting Secretary-General from April 2013-June 2014.
He has a BA (Hons) LLB cum laude from Wits University. He graduated with an MPhil in Philosophy from St John's College, University of Cambridge in 2001 and with a PhD in law (and political philosophy) from the same university in 2004. David worked as law clerk to Chief Justice Langa of the Constitutional Court in 2000 (who was then Deputy Judge-President). From August 2004 until 2006, he worked at Ross Kriel Attorneys, a law firm dealing with public sector law and he is an admitted attorney. Apart from being Director at SAIFAC, he has also been a Senior Research Associate at the University of Pretoria where he has lectured in the LLM programme and has worked in the PhD programme, and a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the University of the Witwatersrand where he lectured jurisprudence for 5 years.
David’s monograph on ‘Poverty and Fundamental Rights: the Justification and Enforcement of Socio-Economic Rights’ was published by Oxford University Press at the end of February 2007. David also recently was co-editor (with Surya Deva) of an edited collection titled ‘Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?’ which was published by Cambridge University Press in November 2013 and launched at the United Nations Library. He has also published widely in a range of fields relating to fundamental rights including proportionality and fundamental rights, socio-economic rights, business and human rights, gay and lesbian rights, religious rights and animal rights. He has also presented at numerous conferences both in South Africa and internationally.
David is a committed activist working towards social reform with his involvement in feminist, gay rights, poverty and animal rights issues. In 2006, he was one of the key drivers in the campaign for civil marriage for same-sex couples in South Africa and acted as legal adviser to the Joint Working Group (a coalition of 17 lesbian and gay organisations). He has also campaigned for shelters for the homeless, has taught literacy and numeracy skills to streetchildren, and has been involved in the campaign to prevent the culling of elephants.
BA (Hons) LLB (Wits), MPhil (Cantab); PhD (Cantab)