Research Expertise




Department of Public Law, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria


Prof Pieter Carstens

Prof Pieter Carstens lectures Criminal Law and Medical Law. His main focus areas of research are medical malpractice law, health care law and bioethics. He also holds an appointment as extraordinary professor in the department of forensic medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria. He was admitted as an advocate of the High Court of South Africa in 1983, was called to the Pretoria Bar in 1989 and is still an associate member of the Pretoria Bar. He is presently the director of the Centre for Law and Medicine.  He is a visiting professor at the Beazeley Institute for Health Law at the Loyola University of Chicago, USA and was a visiting professor at the Free University, Amsterdam and the Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is a past member of the ethics committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences of the University of Pretoria and a member of the Hospital Board of Weskoppies Mental Hospital. He is the co-author of the authoritative book Foundational Principles of South African Medical Law (2007). He is a member of the World Association for Medical Law and a member of the South African Medico-Legal Society and a member of the Oxford Round Table for Public Law (Harris Manchester College, Oxford University).

Selected recent publications:

‘Revisiting criminal medical negligence resulting in death – S v Van Heerden 2010 1 SACR 529 (ECP)’ Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) 74 (3) pp 677-682

‘Revisiting the infamous Pernkopf Anatomy Atlas: Historical lessons for medical law and ethics’ Fundamina 19 (2) pp 23-49

‘Revisiting the relationship between dolus eventualis and luxuria in context of vehicular collisions causing the death of fellow passengers and/or pedestrians: S v Humphreys 2013 (2) SACR 1 (SCA)’ South African Journal of Criminal Justice 26 (1) pp 67-74

‘Informed consent to cosmetic surgery – does a broader duty of disclosure exist?’ Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) 76 (4) pp 642-653

‘Judicial recognition of the maxim res ipsa loquitur to a case of medical negligence - Lungile Ntsele v MEC for Health, Gauteng Provincial Government (unreported as yet, case number 2009/52394 (GSJ) dated 24 October 2012)’ Obiter 34 (2) pp 348-358

‘The application of res ipsa loquitur in medical negligence cases; a comparative survey’ (with P van den Heever) (2011) Cape Town: Juta (298 pages)


Prof Bernard Bekink

Prof Bernard Bekink’s research focuses on general aspects of constitutional law, both nationally and internationally, with a special interest in the South African constitutional legal system. He examines South African local government law as an applied field of public law within the SA constitutional dispensation.  Prof Bekink is an admitted and practising attorney of the High Court of South Africa.  He is member of various national and international organizations: IBA (International Bar Association); IACL (International Association of Constitutional Lawyers); CLA (Commonwealth Lawyers Association); and Law Society of South Africa (LSSA).

Selected recent publications:

‘Principles of South African Constitutional law’ (2012) Durban: LexisNexis (649 pages)


Prof Christo Botha

Professor Christo Botha teaches legal interpretation, international humanitarian law and international criminal law, and is the course leader of the postgraduate Program in Legislative Drafting (offered by [email protected]). He is a member of the International Bar Association (and the current vice-chair of the IBA Public Law Committee).

Selected recent publications:

‘Statutory interpretation: An introduction for students’ (2012) Cape Town: Juta (234 pages)

Dr Ilze Grobbelaar-Du Plessis

Dr Ilze Grobbelaar-Du Plessis’ research on disability law focuses on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the resultant changed approach with regard to the juridical management of persons with disabilities. This approach is aimed at a more inclusive and integrated public legal order with a view to the protection and promotion of the rights and interests of persons with disabilities on an equal footing with those of other persons.

Selected recent publications:

‘Protection of disabled employees in South Africa: An analysis of the Constitution and Labour Legislation’ (co-author BPS van Eck) in Aspects of Disability Law in Africa Pretoria: PULP pp 231-260

‘South Africa’ (Yearbook chapter) (co-authored by C Grobler) in African Disability Rights Yearbook Pretoria: PULP pp 307-340


Prof Koos Malan

Prof Koos Malan teaches, among other things, constitutional law and human rights law. His field of specialisation are constitutional theory and language law. He has published extensively in these fields. His interest in constitutional theory covers questions such as constitutional sovereignty and supremacy, the rule of law, constitutional change and democracy and the accommodation of diversity in modern constitutions. Malan penned an academic monograph titled ‘Politocracy: An assessment of the coercive logic of the territorial government and ideas around a response to it’ (2012). This was published by the Law Publishers of the University of Pretoria. Malan’s publications in the field of language law include a number of articles in peer reviewed journals. He is an active participant in the International Academy of Language Law.

Selected recent publications:

‘The discretionary nature of the official language clause of the Constitution’ Southern African Public Law (SAPL) 26 (2) pp 381-407

Politokrasie (2011) Pretoria: PULP (358 pages)

‘‘n Oorweging van die sosiopolitieke kragte wat inwerk op die betekenis en toepassing van die diskresionêre taalklousule van die Suid-Afrikaanse grondwet’ LitNet Akademies 9 (1) pp 55-78

‘The rule of law versus decisionism in the South African constitutional discourse’ De Jure 2 (45) pp 272-305


Dr Melanie Murcott

Dr Melanie Murcott teaches in the fields of administrative and environmental law. Her research focus, in the context of socio-economic rights litigation, explores whether, and if so, how administrative and environmental laws can help to achieve greater access to basic resources for poor South Africans. She is a member of the Environmental Law Association and the Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment, and is the University's representative on the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law.

Selected recent publications:

‘Procedural fairness as a component of legality: Is reconciliation between Albutt and Masetlha possible?’ South African Law Journal 130 (2) pp 260-274

‘The role of administrative law in enforcing socio-economic rights: Revisiting Joseph’ South African Journal on Human Rights 29 (3) pp 481-495


Prof Annelize Nienaber

Prof Annelize Nienaber’s main areas of interest are the law and ethics relating to medical research, international human rights law, state responsibility in medical research and the legal problems of HIV and AIDS. She is an editor of the African Human Rights Law Journal and an associate editor of the Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law. She is a member of the International Association of Bioethics and the International Law Association. She is the legal advisor to the Research Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, and the chairperson of the Faculty of Law's Research Ethics Committee. She was the chairperson of the University of Pretoria's Disciplinary Committee: Students from 2008 to 2010.

Selected recent publications:

‘”The grave’s a fine and private place”: A preliminary exploration of the law relating to posthumous sperm retrieval for procreation’ 25 Southern African Public Law 707

‘Consent to and authorisation of the export and use of human biological specimens for future research - perspectives from three African countries’ 44 Comparative and International Law Journal of South Africa 225

‘Kinders se gesondheidsorg: Voldoen Suid-Afrikaanse wetgewing aan die land se verpligtinge ingevolge die Konvensie oor die Regte van die Kind en die Grondwet?’ (with M Bűchner-Eveleigh) 15 Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 44

‘Consent to research by mentally ill children and adolescents: The implications of Chapter 9 of the National Health Act’ 19 South African Journal of Psychiatry 19

‘Liability for the wrongful transmission of communicable diseases in South African prisons: What about HIV?’ 28 Southern African Public Law 1

Skills Workbook for Law Students / Vaardighede Werkboek vir Regstudente (co-author with A Kok and F Viljoen) (2nd edition 2011) (185 pages)


Prof Philip Stevens

Dr Philip Stevens lectures Criminal Law and Statutory Crimes and his main focus areas for research are criminal law and mental health law with specific reference to the interface between criminal law and mental health law. He serves on the Faculty of Law’s Research Ethics committee as well as the Research Ethics Committee at the Faculty of Health Sciences.  He is an associate member of the Pretoria Bar.

Selected recent publications:

‘Forget me not: Thoughts on the crossroads between law and medicine in assessing claims of amnesia’ De Jure 2 (44) 273-289

‘Unravelling the entrapment enigma: Reflections on the role of the mental health expert in the assessment of battered woman syndrome and coercive control advanced in support of a defence of non-pathological criminal incapacity (1)’ Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) 74 (3) 432-448

‘The hand that rocks the cradle: Reflections on postpartum psychosis and the defence of pathological criminal incapacity’ Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) 75 (2) 280-287

‘Pathological criminal incapacity and the conceptual interface between law and medicine (co-author J le Roux)’ South African Journal on Criminal Justice 25 (1) 44-66

‘Multiple Acts of Sexual Penetration Within a Short Period of Time – Single or Multiple Acts of Rape?’ Obiter 34 (1) 159-165

‘Re-establishing triability by means of psychotropic medication: An analysis’ Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) 76 (2) pp 252-260

‘The mirror has Two Faces: Dissociative Identity Disorder and the Defence of Pathological Criminal Incapacity – A South African Criminal Law Perspective’ Medicine and Law 32 (1) pp 33-52

‘Decriminalising consensual sexual acts between adolescents within a constitutional framework: The Teddy Bear Clinic for Abused Children and Another v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others: Case 73300/10 [2013] ZAGPPHC 1 (4 January 2013)’ South African Journal of Criminal Justice 26 (1) pp 41-54

‘Re-assessing the interpretation of “pointing” for purposes of establishing the offence of pointing a firearm – Xabendlini v State (608/10) [2011] ZASCA 86’ Journal of Contemporary Roman Dutch Law (THRHR) 76 (3) pp 468-471


 Adv Leon Gerber

Leon Gerber is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Public Law and the Programme Director for the Extractive Industry Law in Africa Programme. Leon's expertise is in Mineral- and Environmental Law and Policy, with his research and teaching activities relating to the regulation and governance of mining, particularly the developmental, social and environmental aspects of the sector. His primary research stream is in the incipient field of regulatory frameworks for seabed mining. His secondary research streams include the relationship between mining and development in Africa; emergent mineral value chains; responsible mineral resource governance; the optimisation of mining agreements; security and conflict in the natural resource sectors,  and the implications of international environmental law for mining operations.


Prof Dire Tladi

Prof Dire Tladi lectures International Law, International Law on Sustainable Development and International Environmental Law. He is a member of the International Law Commission, International Law Association and the International Law Association Committee on International Law on Sustainable Development. Before joining the University of Pretoria he was the Principal State Law Adviser (International Law) in the Department of International Relations and Cooperation/Foreign Affairs.

Selected recent publications

‘An Assessment of Bethlehem’s Principles on the Use of Force Against Non-State Actors Without the Consent of the Innocent Territorial State’ (2013) 107 American Journal of International Law 570*

‘Cooperation, Immunities and Article 98 of the Rome Statute: Confronting the Complexities of Interpretation’ (2013) 11 Journal of International Criminal Justice 199-221

‘Security Council, the Use of Force and Regime Change: Libya and Cote d’Ivoire’ 2012 SA Yearbook of International Law

‘On the Al Qaida/Taliban Sanctions Regime: Due Process and Sun Sets’ 2011 10 Chinese Journal of International Law 771

‘Kampala, the International Criminal Court and the Adoption of a Definition for the Crime of Aggression: A Dream Deferred’ (2010) 35 SA Yearbook of International Law 180

‘Civil Liability in the Context of the Cartagena Protocol: To Be or Not to Be (Binding)’ (2010) 1 International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics 15

‘The African Union and the International Criminal Court: The Battle for the Soul of International Law’ 2009 34 South African Yearbook of International Law 57



Published by Elzet Hurter

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