Here we take a look at what makes the best law universities in South Africa.
The Times Higher Education (THE) 2017 ranking places only South African universities as the top four universities in Africa. The QS World Rankings by Subject lists six African universities in their top 500 institutions for Law and five of these are South African. The quality of the top law schools in South Africa provides the best legal education you can find in Africa.
In most of the best law universities in South Africa the classes and examinations are conducted in English, there are a few exceptions such as Stellenbosch University, where classes are conducted in either English or Afrikaans. The legal education will be familiar to students from around the world with rounds of lectures and tutorials. LLM students in South Africa are expected to conduct their own reading and research outside of lessons, but this is just the same as at most LLM courses around the world.
Some of South Africa's law schools and universities have been around for a long time. The highly ranked University of Cape Town was founded in 1829, making it the second oldest university in Africa. Another well establish university, Stellenbosch University, has a huge library system and one of the largest law libraries in Africa, which will prove extremely useful for that LLM dissertation. LLM students also learn within the Common Law system of South Africa, which can be an attractive option for students from countries with Civil Law or other systems.
New Law Schools
Several new law schools have been recently established in South Africa. For example, the University of KwaZulu-Natal was formed in 2004 from the merger of two other universities and has a substantial LLM course offering. The University of KwaZulu-Natal regularly features in the top 5 universities in Africa.
Tempting Tuition Fees
Depending on fluctuations in currency the tuition fees for LLM courses in South Africa compare very favourably to other law schools around the world. The R60,000 charged to international LLM students at the University of Cape Town is one of the highest tuition fees charged in South Africa. In US Dollars this translates as about $4,500 and if you compare this to a law school in the US of a similar ranking, then you can see that the LLM tuition fees are fairly reasonable.
Of the 17 law schools in South Africa, all but one offers some sort of LLM postgraduate qualification. Some of these LLMs are gained by research, but there is a huge range of LLM specialities to focus on in the taught LLM courses in South Africa. Students can study Business Law, Child Care and Protection Law, Environmental Law, Maritime Law, Medical Law, Private Law and Public Law.