Our Approach:

The Centre’s work is multi-levelled: it includes research, mobilisation and teaching. It is explicitly committed to the transformative potential of the South African constitution.

We host a vibrant mix of young and established researchers, working across a range of disciplines, including development studies, law, anthropology and history, and we actively support the work of public intellectuals.

The Centre seeks to create a space of learning, self-reflection and transformation necessary for a new generation of lawyers, researchers and activists to contribute to the shift in legal culture that is so necessary in our country, and other similarly situated contexts.

CLS adopts a model of social change that foregrounds social problems at the nexus between social mobilisation, evidence-based research, and advocacy.

Our Workstreams:

We put our commitment to social justice, constitutionalism and transformation into practice through three primary, interconnected, workstreams: Engaged Research, Critical Teaching and the CLS Hub.

Cutting-edge socio-legal research that:

  • Enables empirical understandings of the links between law, scholarship and critical social issues
  • Produces skilled and research-literate practitioners
  • Builds situated knowledge and theory that crosses disciplinary boundaries
  • Fills knowledge gaps and responds to critical challenges of law and society

Teaching that:

  • Is responsive to context and connected to practice
  • Stimulates students and scholars to think innovatively about contemporary issues at the intersection of law and society
  • Creates engaged practitioners and thought leader communities who understand the socio-legal nexus and challenge social injustices
  • Inspires mutually transformative learning encounters and teaching practices

A vibrant and supportive hub for:

  • Convening dialogues, conversations and confrontations around law and/in society
  • Bringing together students, scholars and other social actors for critical encounters, mutual learning and collective exploration of contemporary problems and their possible solutions
  • Showcasing a diversity of voices, perspectives and disciplines that shape law in practice
  • Building the field of legal theory and practice
  • Catalysing innovative partnerships
  • Connecting people, ideas and projects in Africa that are locally and globally and relevant