Registration and renewal of registration
If admitted, a student can register immediately for the LLD programme. The following two or three modules must be registered for and completed within one year of registration:
1. Research methodology (RHP 902) offered by the Faculty of Law.
If the student can show sufficient evidence of competence in research skills required at postgraduate level the Postgraduate Committee of the Faculty of Law on recommendation of the supervisor, may exempt the student from this module.
2. Research proposal and oral defence of the research proposal (RHP 904).
An oral defence of the research proposal including an assessment of the feasibility of the thesis statement, research question or questions and argument to be developed in the LLD thesis is required. A draft research proposal including a bibliography that covers the main fields to be covered by the study, the thesis statement, research question or questions and argument must be sent to the examination panel three weeks prior to the oral defence. (Such a draft research proposal must first be approved by the supervisor.) The student must convince the adjudicating panel of the feasibility of the topic and his or her knowledge of the research subject and ability to conduct the research. Where required by the panel, the draft proposal must be further reworked in light of the comments at the oral defence and a final proposal submitted to the satisfaction of the supervisor before the student may embark on the writing of the thesis. (No exemption can be granted from this requirement).
A student who does not complete the abovementioned two modules within one year of registration may be excluded from the Faculty and if he/she seeks readmission to the Faculty, may submit a written request to the Dean that his/her application for readmission to the Faculty be considered in terms of the set procedure.
3. Structured research proposal preparation (RHP 906) (non-credit-bearing)
The supervisor may prescribe that a particular student must follow a structured programme to be determined by the supervisor and approved by the Postgraduate Committee. The supervisor may also set the requirements, as approved by the Postgraduate Committee, for complying with the module.
The criterion for the award of the doctorate is original research. The degree will not be conferred until work equivalent to at least two years of study has been completed.
Subject to the stipulations of the relevant General Regulations, a candidate for the LLD programme must be in possession of at least an LLM degree, or an equivalent degree.
Where applicable a candidate must apply to SAQA for an evaluation of their foreign qualification.
The Faculty Board may grant exemption from the above conditions.
A candidate for the LLD programme must submit a writing portfolio consisting of the LLM mini-dissertation/dissertation and/or other recent research-based essays, assignments or the like, as well as a letter of motivation and a preliminary research statement (an 800 word description of the proposed research field indicating a research topic, the broad scope of the proposed study, a tentative research problem and an indication of how the proposed doctorate will contribute to scholarship in the relevant field).
A candidate will only be admitted to the LLD programme if he/she obtained at least 65% (or the equivalent of this mark) for the dissertation or mini-dissertation of the preceding master’s degree (or an equivalent degree). Where an average of below 65% was achieved, the student may be admitted on recommendation of the relevant head of department after consultation with potential supervisor(s) and consideration of other factors, including relevant work experience, other academic qualifications and an admission examination.
A candidate will only be admitted to the LLD programme if the Faculty can provide a suitable supervisor in light of the applicant’s preliminary research statement, and writing portfolio. If the potential supervisor is not satisfied with the preliminary research statement, the potential supervisor should assist the candidate in developing and formulating a research statement before a final decision on admission to the programme is taken.
Where a potential supervisor declines to accept a candidate for a reason other than the lack of capacity (current supervision load or lack of relevant expertise), the dean on advice of the postgraduate committee may issue appropriate directives to the relevant head of department (such as obtaining the recommendation of an independent expert) before making a final decision.
The dean, on advice of the postgraduate committee, may advise a candidate to enrol for the LLM: Research programme instead of the LLD programme.
Thesis and article
The LLD degree is conferred by virtue of a thesis, and an oral defence of the thesis. The topic of the thesis must be selected from the fields of study, and be approved by the Dean. (See the relevant General Regulations for finalisation of the thesis.)
The final copy of the thesis must be accompanied by a proof of submission of an article to an accredited journal. The article must be based on the research that the student has conducted for the thesis and be approved by the supervisor.
A written agreement between the student and supervisor should be signed. The document serves as the basis for the interaction between the student and the supervisor. It indicates their individual roles, responsibilities and expectations and making it clear that they are entering into a binding undertaking with each other. The supervisor has the responsibility to ensure that the thesis is properly prepared by the student.
Oral defence of the thesis
After receipt of the reports of the external examiners, the examiners’ recommendations in terms of G.50.4(d)(ii) which are preliminary in nature, must be subjected to the successful completion of revisions as required by the examiners and recommendations of the Postgraduate Committee. In such a case the Postgraduate Committee may require that the candidate be called for an oral to question or to confirm these revisions and recommendations.
The supervisor may in general also arrange a public lecture on the topic to be presented by the candidate. The lecture as such will not have a bearing on the outcome of the thesis.