UP Law enters into momentous three-year renewable Memorandum of Understanding with new ILI-South African Centre for Excellence

Posted on December 03, 2020

On Friday, 21 November 2020, the Faculty of Law (UP Law) at the University of Pretoria (UP) entered into a momentous three-year renewable Memorandum of Understanding with the new ILI-South African Centre for Excellence (refer to PDF attachment for more information on ILI-SACE) in Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa.  ILI-SACE is affiliated with the International Law Institute (ILI) and International Law Institute - African Centre for Legal Excellence (ILI-ACLE).

The main objectives of this MOU are among other things:

  • The advancement of collaborative projects between the parties;
  • Strengthening the value of collaborative ties in various areas of common interest and mutual benefit; and
  • Addressing any other issue of common interest and mutual benefit between the Parties.

The MOU’s areas of collaboration include:

  • Short certificate courses;
  • Development of course curricula;
  • Academic programmes;
  • Internship programmes; and
  • Faculty development programmes.

During the course of the day parties to the MOU via Enterprises University of Pretoria agreed to jointly offer executive education programmes expected to begin in 2021. (Follow https://lnkd.in/dphHK-H for updates).  The signing of the agreement during the afternoon of 21 November was sealed amidst a powerful thunderstorm and heavy downpour in Pretoria, South Africa.  

From left to right, attending the signing were: Millard Arnold, Senior Advisor, ILI-SACE, Professor Charles Maimela, Deputy Dean, UP Law, Swithin Munyantwali, CEO and Vice Chairman, ILI-SACE, Professor Elsabe Schoeman, Dean of UP Law, Professor Daniel Bradlow, UP SARChI Professor of International Development Law Unit (IDLU) and African Economic Relations and Emeritus Professor of Law, American University Washington College of Law, and Dr Jonathan Kabre , Postdoctoral Fellow at the UP Centre for Human Rights. 


Virtually participating in the signing of the MOU were ILI-SACE board members and advisors, Honourable Judge Ann Claire Williams (Ret.), Professor David Smith (middle - refer to his profile set out in the third PDF attachment), ILI-SACE Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Stuart Kerr (refer to his profile set out in the PDF attachment), International Law Institute President.

Prior to the official signing of the agreement, Judge Williams provided an overview of effective teaching and learning methods for adult learners, including the effectiveness of learning-by-doing and the successful integration of experienced practitioners in academic training programmes. She indicated that adult learning was very different to school education, as the attention span of adults was limited to 20 minutes at a time, whereafter there must be a change of pace to ensure concentration and interaction.’ Kerr concurred, and stated that ‘The hallmark should be the integration of academics and practice experts in training programmes, which will prove to be beneficial to universities.’ 

Judge Williams also pointed out that ‘Course formats should be changed to bring it up to speed with the latest tendencies and developments.’  She also suggested ‘That co-trainers should be identified to assist with the training of the trainers to ensure the relevance and content importance of lectures, as the mere reading of textbooks in front of classes belongs outside the physical and virtual classroom.  Lectures should be based on topical issues.’  Smith pointed out ‘The importance of ethical and social obligations, with more emphasis on anti-corruption courses and business courses, which was the hallmark of the partnership.’  He also said that ‘The integration of technology knowledge was key, as lawyers of the world were well-involved in the world of technology, and more so the change in the way lawyers operate after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.’ 

Since 1997, the ILI African Centre for Legal Excellence (ACLE) has been providing practical, high-level post-professional education, and contributing to the development of legal infrastructure on the African continent. With a regional focus in Africa and a combination of regionally and internationally renowned experts, ILI-ACLE’s programmes work to address the unique challenges confronting the African continent through the following core themes:

  • Judicial restructuring and reform;
  • Commercial law reform and Legislative drafting;
  • Procurement and PPPs;
  • Good governance and anti-corruption;
  • Human rights and access to Justice/Environment;
  • Extractives/Oil and gas contracting; and
  • Dispute resolution.

A very excited and honoured Dean Schoeman is of the opinion that ‘The signing of the MOU with ILI will result in ground-breaking development and work being done in teaching and learning of law at UP Law and in South Africa.’ Thanking the parties involved, she stated that ‘UP Law is looking forward to a long, happy and fruitful association with you. We feel energised and are very excited about all the possibilities.’ 

In a letter to Dean Schoeman, Munyantwali thanked the University for the warm reception during Millard’s and his visit to the beautiful UP campus: ‘We enjoyed meeting with Enterprises and with the great team of the UP Faculty of Law. We are confident of the respective synergies leading to a fruitful partnership and to working together.’  In her response to Dean Schoeman, Judge Williams stated that she was ‘looking forward to working with you and your outstanding team. It will be a terrific partnership.’

- Author Elzet Hurter

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