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Our Vision

Our vision is aligned to that of the University and the School of Law which is to be at the centre of legal education, training and research, and to promote rural and regional development in Southern Africa.

Our Mission

Inspired by the University of Venda’s vision and mission, the School of Law employs appropriate learning methodologies and research in offering a range of qualifications in law and criminal justice that is responsive to the developmental needs of the Southern African region.  Furthermore it is our specific mission to provide practical legal training as well as to enhance the students’ knowledge and expertise in the fields of Criminal Law, Evidence, Criminal Procedure, Civil Procedure, Medical Jurisprudence, Professional Training and Trial Advocacy.

Our Mandate

The Department of Criminal- & Procedural Law forms part of the School of Law and is responsible for the teaching of various undergraduate modules to LLB & BA (Criminology) students.  The Department also offers practical legal training in conjunction with the Univen Law Clinic and as a unit of the School of Law offers academic and career-focused degrees, certificates and short courses in the field of law aimed at promoting professional rural and regional development in Southern Africa.  The main objectives of the Department of Criminal- & Procedural Law are to provide excellent legal education including practical legal training to undergraduate students; to conduct research and to offer a research LLM; to engage in community services; and to develop community based projects.

Community Engagement Activities

Due to the fact that many of the modules offered by our Department are practical modules the Department actively participates in the Small Claims Court.  Various educational and training visits to other courts and hospitals are compulsory for students as it forms part of projects used as assessments in different modules taught in the Department.  As a result of the various community engagement activities in the Department we are proud to announce that the HOD, Mr Mawila, was the recipient of the 2012/2013 Univen Community Engagement Excellence Award.

The following modules are taught in the Department:


1          The Law of Civil Procedure (CIV 4541 & CIV 4641):
Civil Procedure consists of two compulsory modules in the 1st and 2nd semester of the fourth year.   The first semester deals with civil procedure in the Magistrate’s court and the second semester with civil procedure in the High court.

CIV 4541 (Magistrate Court):

The Law of Civil Procedure is a study of:

  • Historical review and procedural law;
  • The various courts, their jurisdiction and personnel;
  • Jurisdiction;
  • The forms that proceedings may take;
  • The application procedure;
  • Arrests, attachments, interdicts and mandament van spolie;
  • The summons;
  • The service of summons;
  • Satisfaction of claims, judgment by consent and default judgment;
  • Notice of intention to defend, summary judgment and provisional sentence;
  • The exception and the application to strike out;
  • The request for further particulars;
  • Tender and payment into court;
  • The plea, claims in reconvention, the reply and close of proceedings;
  • The trial and the preparation for it;
  • Costs;
  • Execution;
  • Appeals and reviews;
  • Debt- collecting procedure; and
  • Administration orders.

CIV 3641 (High Court):

  • The hierarchical structure of high courts in the republic of South Africa and powers of the various courts;
  • The meaning of uniform rules of court;
  • Jurisdiction;
  • The forms of procedure;
  • The application procedure;
  • Arrests, attachments, interdicts and mandament van spolie;
  • The summons;
  • The service of summons;
  • Satisfaction of claims, judgment by consent and default judgment;
  • Notice of intention to defend, summary judgment and provisional sentence;
  • The exception and the application to strike out;
  • The request for further particulars;
  • Tender and payment into court;
  • The plea, claims in reconvention, the reply and close of proceedings;
  • The trial and the preparation for it;
  • Costs;
  • Execution;
  • Appeals and reviews.

2.   Advanced Criminal Law (CLR 4541):
Advanced Criminal Law is an elective in the 4th year 1st semester.

In this module students study certain capita selecta of criminal law.  As this is an advanced module students are required to refresh their memories of CLR 2541 and CLR 2641.  Students will study the following three topics comparatively:

  • The Principle of Legality:
  • Mental Abnormality as a Defence in Criminal Law:
  • Participation in Criminal Law:

The remainder of the module will focus on:

  • Organised Crime in South Africa; and
  • A broad overview over International Criminal Law.

3.   Criminal Law (CRL 2541 & CRL 2641):
Criminal Law consists of two compulsory modules in the 1st and 2nd semester of the second year.

CRL 2541:

  • INTRODUCTORY TOPICS:
  • The sources of South African criminal law;
  • The content, definition and classification of criminal law;
  • Aims & theories of criminal punishment; and
  • The principle of legality.
  • ELEMENTS OF AN OFFENCE:
  • Conduct;
  • Omission;
  • Causation;
  • Mens rea/Culpability/Fault;
  • Criminal capacity;
  • Strict liability & Vicarious liability; and
  • Concurrence of the physical & mental elements of a crime.
  • CORPORATE CRIMINAL LIABILITY
  • INSANITY
  • INTOXICATION
  • IGNORANCE OF THE LAW / MISTAKE OF LAW.

CRL 2641:

In the second semester, we shall examine, analyse discuss and evaluate some specific crimes such as murder, theft, rape, assault, crimen iniuria, etc. We shall endeavour to distil, analyse and comprehend the definitional elements as well as the various, critical social interests they were crafted to protect. In analysing the various specific offences, we shall employ the fundamental principles rules and doctrines we studied in the ‘general part of the criminal law as the essential building blocks.

Note that there are numerous common law and statutory crimes/offences in South Africa. It will not be possible to discuss all these crimes in class. We shall thus focus on some selected paradigms of crime. The student is however expected to master all the offences which exist in South Africa otherwise he/she will be severely handicapped in legal practice. Indeed, a firm grasp of the general principles of the criminal law will enable the student to analyse and comprehend any specific crime.

4.   Criminal Procedure (CRP 3541 & CRP 3641):
Criminal Procedure consists of two compulsory modules in the 1st and 2nd semester of the third year.

In CRP 3541 & CRP 3641 modules we deal with the general principles of criminal procedure law and the four phases in criminal procedure.

CRP 3541:

  • General Principles of Criminal Procedure:
  • Introduction to the law of criminal procedure;
  • Criminal Courts of the RSA;
  • Prosecution of crimes;
  • The right to legal assistance;
  • The accused: his presence as a party;
  • Criminal Procedure before Trial:
  • The exercise of powers and the vindication of  rights;
  • Methods o securing the attendance of the accused at trial;
  • Interrogation & interception;
  • Search & Seizure;
  • Bail and other forms of release;
  • Pre-trial examination.

CRP 3641:

            3.         The Trial:

  • Indictments and charge sheets;
  • The court;
  • Arraignment and plea of the accused;
  • Diverse matters regarding trial;
  • Joinder and Separation of trials;
  • The process of the trial; and
  • The verdict.

            4.         The Sentence:
            5.         The Verdict;
            6.         Remedies after Verdict:


  • Review;
  • Appeal; and
  • Mercy, Indemnity and Free Pardon.

5.   Law of Evidence (EVI 3541& EVI 3641):
The Law of Evidence consists of two compulsory modules in the 1st& 2nd semester of the third year.

EVI 3541:

  • An introduction to the history and theory of the law of evidence;
  • Early history and development  of the English law of evidence;
  • Religious stage / primitive stage;
  • Formal stage;
  • Rational stage and development of the jury;
  • Procedural and evidential systems and some universal principles of fact-finding;
  • Accusatorial (adversarial) v inquisitorial procedure;
  • Basic concepts;
  • Sources of the South African law  of evidence and the impact  of the constitutional  provisions;
  • The law of evidence and substantive law;
  • Relevance , admissibility and weight of evidence;
  • Character evidence; and
  • Similar fact evidence.

EVI  3641:

  • Kinds of evidence and the presentation thereof:
  • Oral evidence;
  • Real evidence;
  • Documentary evidence; and
  • Electronic evidence and related matters.
  • Witnesses:
  • The competence and compellability;
  • The calling of witnesses;
  • Refreshing the memory of witnesses; and
  • Impeaching the credibility of a witness.
  • Proof without evidence:
  • Formal admissions;
  • Judicial notice;
  • Rebuttable presumptions of law; and
  • A constitutional perspective on statutory presumptions.
  • Weight of evidence, standards and burdens of proof:
  • The evaluation of evidence;
  • The standard and burden of proof and evidential duties in criminal trials:
  • The standard and burden of proof and evidential duties in civil trials;
  • Opinion evidence;
  • Previous  consistent statements;
  • Exclusion of relevant evidence: privilege and state privilege;
  • Hearsay evidence; and
  • The admissibility and proof of the contents of relevant detrimental statements: admissions and confessions.

6.         Medical Jurisprudence (MED 4631):
Medical Jurisprudence is an elective in the 4th year 2nd semester.

Section A (Medical Law):

  • Legal Regulation of the medical profession;
  • Contractual relations between doctor and patient and amongst medical practitioners mutually;
  • Delictual and criminal liability of the medical practitioner;
  • The conduct of medical evidence;
  • The South African system of health care;
  • Artificial insemination and the law;
  • Statutory law affecting the medical practitioner.

Section B (Medicina Forensis):

  • An introduction to human anatomy and physiology with emphasis on the medico-legal implications;
  • Medico-legal aspects of identity;
  • The signs of death and the changes occurring after death;
  • The post-mortem investigation of sudden death due to natural causes;
  • Death due to accident, suicide and homicide;
  • Death associated with anaesthetic procedures;
  • The concept of the fatal dose and principles of toxicology;
  • Medico-legal aspects of acute alcoholic intoxication.

7.   Professional Training (PFT 4541 & PFT 4641):
Professional Training consists of two compulsory modules in the 1st and 2nd semester of the fourth year.

PFT 4541& PFT 4641:

The purpose of these modules is to train students in skills required for legal practise with emphasis on:

  • Ethics;
  • Rules of the various Law Societies;
  • Drafting of Legal Documents;
  • Legal Writing Skills;
  • Critical Reasoning; and
  • Equipping students to assist clients in the Law Clinic.

Learning Outcomes are:

  • Drafting of legal documents such as affidavits, legal opinions and agreements;
  • Practical application of ethical rules of the legal profession;
  • Drafting of basic trial documents and pleadings;
  • Conducting client interviews;
  • Drafting of a statement;
  • Problem analysis; and
  • Case file management.

8.   Trial Advocacy (TAD 4541 & TAD 4641):
Trial Advocacy consists of two compulsory modules in the 1st and 2nd semester of the fourth year.

These modules are designed to familiarise students with the ‘actual’ court process and aim to empower students in the art and technique of litigation, application, arbitration and mediation proceedings.  The following is covered by these modules:

  • How to address various tribunals;
  • The Brief;
  • Opinion;
  • Interviewing of and taking of statements from all relevant parties;
  • The role of pleading and advice on evidence;
  • How to consult authorities and how to use authority in submissions to court;
  • Examination-in-chief; cross-examination; re-examination; keeping record; analysing evidence; formulating arguments and pre-sentence mitigation;
  • Case Presentations:
  • Application for bail & motion application;
  • Unopposed matrimonial action;
  • Criminal trial;
  • Civil trial;
  • Applications before other Boards;
  • Preparation & argument of an appeal.

The following research is currently being done in the department:

Advocate van der Walt’s publications include:

    • The Balancing of Conflicting Rights in the Application of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act PELJ 2003(6)2;

     

    • A Note on the Practical Implications of the Walters Decision Speculum Juris Vol 1 No 2 (2002) 304-310;

     

    • The Volitional Component of Dolus Eventualis SACJ (2003) 16 207-211;

    • Can Security Legislation Stand Up to the Challenge of Ensuring the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms? A South African Perspective - Journal New Thinking, New Thinking Institute, Boston, USA Summer 2003 ed;

     

    • The Constitutional Dilemma of how Discrimination Against Women in Religion should be Addressed : A South African Perspective - Journal New Thinking, New Thinking Institute, Boston, USA Autumn 2003 ed;

     

    • The Right to Pre-Trial Silence: S v Thebus 2003 (2) SACR 319 (CC) SACJ (2004) 17 379-393;

     

    • Bestialiteit: Ongrondwetlik of Dekriminaliseer? S v M Ongerapporteerde Beslissing THRHR 2005 (68);

    • The Right to Pre-Trial Silence as part of the Right to a Free and Fair Trial: An Overview AHRLJ 2005 (5) 70-88;

     

    • Diskriminasie teen vroue in geloofsverband: ‘n Regsperspektief Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae June 2005, Volume XXXI, No 1;

     

    • The Right to a Fair Trial Revisited – S v Jaipal SACJ (2006) Vol 19(3) 315;


    • ’n Grondwetlike Oorsig oor die Ontwikkeling van die Gebruik van Geweld tydens Arrestasie deur die SAPD TSAR 2007:1 96-111;

    • The Right to a Fair Criminal Trial: A South African Perspective US-China Law Journal 2010 Vol 1;

     

    • The use of Force when effecting Arrest in South Africa and the 2010 Bill: A Step in the Right Direction? PELJ 2011 Volume 14 no 1.

     

      • Theft of water flowing in a stream or river:  A critical evaluation of Mostert v The State 2010(2) SA 586 (SCA)  SACJ (2012) 25 297.

The following staff are attached at the Department of Criminal and Procedural Law.

Designation Name Contacts
HOD

Mr P R Mawila

Tel: +27 15 962

Email: Perry.Mawila@univen.ac.za

Prof GNK Vukor-Quarshie
LLB (Hons) Ghana; BL (Ghana); LLM; SJD(Virginia, USA)

Modules: Criminal Law

Tel: +27 15 962 8433

Email: George.Vukor-Quarshie@univen.ac.za

Adv T van der Walt
B Proc; LLB; LLM (UNISA)

Modules: Criminal Procedure

Tel: +27 15 962 8400

Email: vanderwalt@univen.ac.za

Ms P Muvhango

Tel: +27 15 962

Email: Pregoria.Muvhango@univen.ac.za