UP Faculty of Law climbs worldwide ranking ladder to position 76

Posted on October 17, 2018

The University of Pretoria (UP) has ranked 76th in the world for law, according to the latest 2019 Times Higher Education (THE) Law subject ranking, released today.  It is the highest ranked South African Law Faculty and an improvement from 92nd to place 76th, increasing with 16 notches.  It remains the best ranked law faculty in Africa and in the top 80 in the world.  

This achievement could be attributed to the following:

The Faculty of Law delivered a record total of 35 doctoral degrees, and awarded 179 Master’s degrees in 2017. 

The Faculty of Law proudly presents a fully integrated hybrid teaching and learning model which seamlessly integrates online and contact sessions.  We also acknowledge the exceptional electronic platforms and world-class facilities provided by the University of Pretoria to enable us to climb the ranking ladder. 

UP Law students are constantly excelling internationally, continuously contributing to the positioning of the University of Pretoria in the Law subject ranking.  In 2018, a mooting team from the University of Pretoria was placed fifth in the Olympic Games of legal education, i.e. the Philip C Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, out of 680 faculties from 100 universities participating. The UP Law team also won the Alona E Evans Award for Best Memorial and the Richard R Baxter Award for Best Overall Respondent Memorial.  At this Competition, the UP team ranked higher than Harvard University, University of Oxford, Stanford University and Norman Manley Law School, to mention a few. 

Again a UP Law team walked away with the laurels in the English category from the 27th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition during August 2018 in Ghana.  A total of 48 teams participated in this annual event.

To top it all, for the first time in its 26-year history, a team from the Africa continent, consisting of law students from the University of Pretoria, won the International Manfred Lachs Space Law Moot Court Competition. The team also won the Lee Love Winners Award and the Sterns and Tennen Award for Best Oralist.  This Competition brings together the four winning teams from four major regions:  Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.  Earlier in the year the UP team beat Uganda’s Makerere University team to become the African champions in a regional round that saw universities from South Africa and Nigeria also competing for the prestigious regional title.

The Faculty of Law was one of only three universities who were awarded full LLB accreditation status for their Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Programme in November 2017.  This came after the council on Higher Education conducted a national review of the LLB programme at 17 institutions offering the programme in 2015 and 2016.

The Faculty of Law houses the academic departments of Jurisprudence, Private Law, Procedural Law, Public Law, Mercantile Law and the Centre for Human Rights. Community service and student vocational training are provided by the Law Clinic and the Centre for Child Law.  The Faculty also houses the Centre for Advanced Corporate and Insolvency Law, Centre for Intellectual Property Law, Centre for Law and Medicine, Centre for Sports Law in Africa, the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa, the International Development Law Unit and the newly established Unit for Insurance Law.  The Extractive Industries Law in Africa Programme is the first of its kind on the Africa continent and of universal relevance.

The Faculty’s Research Chairs include the Adams & Adams Chair in Intellectual Property Law, the Chair in Barclays Africa Banking Law in Africa, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Chair in Education Law in Africa, the South African Research Chairs Initiative in International Development and African Economic Relations; and South African Research Chairs Initiative in international Constitutional Law.  Currently there are 26 National Research Foundation rated researchers in the Faculty of Law, namely an A rated, 11 B rated, 12 C rated and two Y rated staff members.

Furthermore, the University of Pretoria is currently in the unique position where three law professors (Professors Dire Tladi, Ann Skelton and Christof Heyns) from the Faculty of Law serve as international experts on key United Nations (UN) bodies in Geneva, responsible for the development and application of international law.  According to Dean André Boraine, ‘such a concentration of international experts in one university and one faculty is exceptional by any standard. ‘Some - not even all - countries count themselves lucky if they have one person in these key UN positions: This faculty boasts three - One country, one university, one faculty.’

Uniquely so the Faculty has its own open-access publisher, the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), based at the Centre for Human Rights.  PULP endeavours to publish and make available innovative, high-quality scholarly texts on law in Africa. PULP also publishes a series of collections of legal documents related to public law in Africa, as well as text books from African countries other than South Africa.  In September 2018 PULP celebrated its 200th publication

Apart from its academic achievements, the Faculty supports a balanced student life, of which the recent Award for Best Student Body at the University of Pretoria was once again awarded to Law House.

Professor Boraine says that ‘this continuous achievement bears proof of the excellent quality and commitment of staff and dedicated students. And true to its vision and mission, the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria continuously strives to improve its international recognition as a leader through relevant legal research and education in Africa.’

- Author Faculty of Law

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