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.
Our mission, which is aligned to that of the University and the School of
Law, is to strive to offer a range of quality academic and career-focused
legal disciplines aimed at promoting and enhancing the jurisprudential and
practical legal development of our learners in a context cognizant of the
development imperatives of our regional and rural
Concomitant to the radical metamorphosis of the University into a comprehensive tertiary institution, the Department of Jurisprudence, as a unit of the School of Law offers academic and career-focused general degrees, certificates and short courses in the field of law aimed at promoting professional rural and regional development in South Africa.
Community Engagement Activities
The hub of our community engagement activity is the street law programme. This programme involves, in the second semester, educational and training visits to prisons, schools and local communities by students offering the Street Law module under the guidance of the module lecturer.
Below is a description of the modules taught in the Department of Jurisprudence.
- Comparative Law (COP 4631)
- Foundations of Law (FOL 1541)
- Introduction to Practical Legal Skills
- Indigenous Law (INL 2541 & INL 2641)
- Introduction to the Theory of Law (INT 1541 & 1641)
- Jurisprudence (JUR 4541 & JUR 4641)
- Street Law (STL 4541)
1. Comparative Law (COP 4631)
Comparative law may be defined as the systematic and scholarly study of the similarities and differences between the legal systems, institutions, processes, etc of different jurisdictions, such as between civil-law and common law countries. The module is concerned with the comparison of legal systems rather than the study of substantive law. The module starts by considering the comparative method in general. The various ways in which one can define the comparative method of legal study are evaluated. The two major legal systems that are scrutinised and compared in this module are the Common Law and Civil Law systems. This is followed by a detailed discussion of jurisdictions which apply the Civil Law or the Common Law systems respectively. Germany and France are used as examples of the civil law system while England, Australia and the United States of America are studied as examples of Common Law systems. The module finishes with a general comparative exercise in which constitutional review will serve as the tertium comperationis.
Legal Research Methodology 1541 (LRM 1541)
Students are thought how to successfully study law. Students are equipped to recognize, appreciate and differentiate between the various sources of South African law. Students are taught the fundamentals of legal research, including how to find these legal sources, and their simple application. This course provides a strong foundation in the use of South African legal resources.
Specific Learning Outcomes
A student should be able to
- Apply methods for note taking, reading, studying and making of summaries;
- Differentiate the sources of South African law;
- Know where to find South African common law, case law, legislation, customary law and the Constitution;
- Do basic research by using legal resources in the library.
Legal Research Methodology 1641 (LRM 1641)
Students are equipped with the relevant and critical skills in the use of research indexes for obtaining information from the South African Law Reports and other legal sources. Students are also exposed to the various law reports series. Students learn how to locate legislation as well as how to utilise selected legal periodicals. Students in addition do hands-on electronic legal research.h.
Specific Learning Outcomes
A student should be able to
- Utilize fully the Juta and Butterworths indexes for research;
- Distinguish different law reports and where to find them;
- Use the Government Gazette and published Statute books to locate Bills and Acts;
- Find literature information by using INNOPAC;
- Use the Internet and CD-rom based data resources to do legal research with.\
2. Foundations of Law (FOL 1541)
This module is designed primarily to introduce students to some important foundational aspects of law: History of Law, Roman-Dutch and English Sources of Law, Indigenous Law and Jurisprudence.
To equip students with essential background knowledge of the historical antecedents and sources of South African law, the following topics are considered:
- Development of Roman Law from the time of Justinian through the Middle Ages;
- Reception of Roman Law in Europe, with particular reference to the Netherlands up to and including the codification of the law various continental European states;
- The development of Roman-Dutch law, with particular reference to Germanic and Roman foundations;
- Reception and development of Roman-Dutch Law in South Africa;
- The influence of English Law in South African law;
- The history and development of indigenous iaw and the role it played in the development of the South African law and its place in the current constitutional dispensation and its possible reformation in line with the South African Bill of Rights;
- A brief over-view of the legal and theoretical basis of various fundamental legal concepts (such as the sources of law, law and ethics, subjective rights) and various phenomena of positive law, such as security legislation, censorship, debates on abortion, euthanasia and the death penalty.
Introduction to Practical Legal Skills (ILS 1641)
This module aims to equip students with the necessary legal and communication skills to be effective advisors. Students should possess the following competences at the end of the course:
(a) Communication skills;
(b) Study skills;
(c) Entry points to the profession; and
(d) Introduction to negotiation skills (such as, mediation and arbitration).
Indigenous Law (INL 2541 & INL 2641)
These modules introduce the learner to the crucial and relevant role that the indigenous law plays in the constitutional legal dispensation of South Africa today. It examines the pillars, rules, principles, processes, etc, of the indigenous legal system under the following themes:
1. Recognition, Ascertainment Application of Customary Law in South Africa
History of recognition;
Requirements for enforceable customary law;
Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Law;|
Conflict between customary law, common law and constitutional law;
Law of persons;
Law of succession; andLaw of delict.
| 2. Customary Marriage
||Recognition of Customary Marriage Act120 of 1998;
Requirements of a valid customary marriage;
Consequences of customary marriage; and
Dissolution of customary marriage.
||Conception of childhood;
Marking age and status;
Legitimacy and affiliation;
Adoption and foster care;
Powers of discipline.
||Rules of succession;
Inheritance of property;
Statutory and Judicial amendments; and
Introduction to the Theory of Law (INT 1541 & 1641)
The purpose of the course is to introduce the students to certain broad, critical, foundational legal concepts as well as to imbue them with knowledge and experience of legal reasoning. The course is aimed at developing the following skills:
- To train students to learn to identify legal principles and apply them to different practical factual situations;
- To introduce students to the idea of law;
- To give students an overview of law and other normative systems;
- To introduce students to the nature of judicial precedence;
- To introduce students to the classification of law;
- To introduce students to aspects of Private Law (such as the relationship between legal subjects and capacities);
- To introduce students to aspects of Criminal Law (such as elements of crime, punishment and sentence);
- To introduce students to aspects of Criminal Procedure and Evidence (the trail process);
- Introduction to the general principles of Civil Procedure; and
- Introduction to Constitutional Principles and Rights.
Jurisprudence (JUR 4541 & JUR 4641)
It is extremely difficult to define the term ‘jurisprudence’ because of the extremely convoluted nature of this subject. In these two modules, the learner would be introduced to a wide range of social phenomena which influence and explicate the nature, function and role of law generally in the South African society. We shall intimately and critically examine the various theses, antitheses and syntheses postulated by leading jurists over the years to answer the two basic questions of jurisprudence which are, ‘what is law’, (analytical jurisprudence) and ‘what is good law’, (‘normative jurisprudence’. A timely caveat must be addressed to the learner who wishes to drink of the waters of jurisprudence: The intellectual discipline required for this area of thought must be of a high order. The study of jurisprudence/legal theory tends to sharpen and heighten the systematic analysis and the ability to exercise the learner’s critical faculties.
We shall begin our journey with a discussion of the precursors of modern jurisprudence such as Plato, (c 427-c 347 BC), Aristotle (384-312 BC), Cicero (106-43 BC), Grotius (1583-1645), Hobbes (1588-1679), Locke (1632-1704) and Rousseau (1712-17790). We shall proceed to natural law, utilitarianism and legal positivism. We shall also discuss, inter alia, ‘historical jurisprudence’, ‘sociological jurisprudence’, ‘critical jurisprudence’ ’economic jurisprudence’ and ‘feminist jurisprudence’. We shall also examine the concepts of rights and justice. In discussing the various concepts and schools we shall critically examine the views of giants in the field such as Bentham, Hohfeld, Hart, Dworkin, Perelman, Rawls and Nozick.
- Definition of relevant terms;
- Summary of the development of law;
- Natural Law Theories;
- American Realism;
- Feminism and the law;
- Critical Legal Studies.
1.Ronald Dworkin and Reconstruction:
- Assault on the model of rules;
- Constructive interpretation;
- Integrity and community;
- Judges make political decisions;
- Critique of Ronald Dworkin; and
- Dworkin and apartheid.
2Theories of Justice and Rights
- W H Hohfeld (rights);
- H L A Hart (justice as fairness);
- Jeremy Bentham (utilitarianism);
- C H Perelman;
- John Rawls (welfare liberalism);
- Robert Nozick (libertarianism); and
- Socialist theories.
7. Street Law (STL 4541)
The purpose of this module is:
- To raise students' awareness in public interest law and human rights;
- To educate the students on the interaction between practical social needs and the law;
- To teach negotiation skills enhance and improve the primary tools and objectives of a legal practitioner as a problem solver;
- To teach the students alternative sources of legal and quasi-legal assistance available to the public (ADRD);
- To train the students in methods of presenting public interest law to various sections of the community e.g. high school pupils, prisoners, the police, etc; and
- To train and equip students with the basic tools and skills requisite to rendering basic legal assistance to the community in respect to everyday issues.
A student who successfully completes the programme will:
- have a sound understanding of public interest law and human rights law;
- have an understanding of how society's needs impact on the law;
- understand the nature of social conflict and be able to analyse and solve basic social/legal problems;
- be able to choose either negotiation, mediation or arbitration as an alternative way to court procedure in given circumstances;
- be able to present public interest law to various sections of the community;
- draft an informative legal pamphlet for lay people; and
- possess the competence to raise awareness of human rights issues in high school pupils.
(Publication Samples - Prof GNK Vukor-Quarshie)
Chapters in Books
- The crisis of scholarly publishing in Africa: A case study of selected African countries. (Article co-authored with Prof. E. Oseifuah). Published in Scholarly Publishing in Africa, opportunities and impediments by the Africa Institute of South Africa, 2010, pp. 83-98.
- Developments in the Criminal Law in Post-Apartheid South Africa: Abolition of the Death Penalty and Justification for Punishment. Published by the Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, UK, in the electronic book, “Law Morality and Power: Global Perspectives on Violence and the State” (Editors, S. King, C. Salzani & O. Stalley, ISBN 978-1-8488-041-2, p. 69 2010)
- Criminal Law, NQF3. Co-authored with C. J. Roelofse, L.Oliver, & C. Hagenmeier, 2009.
- Human Rights Manual and Sourcebook for Africa – Chapter on Swaziland, pp 869-899, 2005, Published by The British Institute of International and Comparative Law (BIICL)
- Criminal Law’s Reaction to State Crime – A Project Sponsored and Published in English and German by the Max-Planck-Institute for International and Foreign Criminal Law, Germany, June 2002 pp. 175-293
- The Impact of Research and Development on Socio-Economic Development: Perspectives from Selected Developing economies. (Jointly written with Prof A Gyekye, and Prof E. Oseifuah. Published by JETEMS, 2012 3 (6) 915-922.)
- Developments in the Field of criminal Justice Administration in Swaziland – A Triumph for the Autochthonous Law? (Article written at the Max-Planck-Institute for International and Foreign Criminal Law –and accepted for publication by the Yearbook of African Law 2012)
- Nigeria – Developments in the Criminal Law: Economic and Business Crimes (Published by the Journal of Financial Crime – The Official Journal of Cambridge International Colloquium on Economic Crime), U.K., August 1997 pp83 ff.
- Case-note – Developments in the field of Criminal Justice Administration in Nigeria: Saro-Wiwa in Review, Journal of African Law, 1997, Vol. 41, pp 214 ff.
- Criminal Justice Administration in Nigeria: Saro-Wiwa in Review, 1997 Vol. 8 No. 1, Criminal Law Forum [USA], pp 41 214
- Insane Delusion and Criminal Responsibility in Nigeria: Law and Psychiatry on a Collision Course (Presented at the Conference on Law and Medicine. Obafemi Awolowo University, June 1996), [Published by The Advocate, Obafemi Awolowo University Law Journal, 1996, pp 14 ff]
- Mens Rea and Complicity in the Criminal Code of Nigeria. Published by University of Jos Law Journal, Vol. 4, 1994, pp 94 ff.
- Liability for AIDS Infection under the Criminal Law of Nigeria, Published by The Scandinavian Journal of Development Alternatives, Vol. X No. 122, March-June 1991, pp 101 ff.
- The Automatism Defence in Nigeria, A Re-Examination of an Unruly and Mischievous Concept of Criminal Responsibility. A Monograph Published by Savigny Haus, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany, September 16, 1987.
- Additional Posers in Provocation Law of Nigeria, Published by Law & Politics in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, Vol. 20 of 1987, pp.317 ff
- Post-Independence Developments in the Field of Criminal Law and Procedure in Nigeria. A Paper read at the 1987 Conference of the African Law Association, Marburg, West Germany, Nov. 1987, Published in Vol. 7 of the Yearbook of African Law, pp 125 ff
- Are the Heat of Passion Provisions of Section 318 of the Criminal Code of Nigeria as Defective as the Critics Maintain? Published by Obafemi Awolowo Law Journal, 1987, Vol. 3 & 4, Pp. 97 ff
- “The Defence of Intoxication in two West African Countries” - Published by Calabar Law Journal, Vol. 1, No. 1, 1986, pp 168 ff
- “Intoxication and Criminal Responsibility under the Criminal and Penal Codes of Nigeria” - A Paper read at 1984 Conference of the African Law Association, Heidelberg, Germany, October 1984, and Published by the Yearbook of African Law, Vol. 5, 1984, pp 159 ff
- Corporate Criminal Liability: An Additional Chapter to the Criminal and Penal Codes of Nigeria - Published by the Yearbook of African Law, Germany, Vol. II, 1981, pp 141 ff