Thesis title:  Women with Disabilities and the Right to Work in Nigeria: Recommendations for an Inclusive Public Service and Labour Market

Supervisor(s): A/Prof Waheeda Amien and A/Prof Debbie Collier

Contact details:,

Description of research: Omuwa's research is focused on employment discrimination as one of the major barriers to the right of women with disabilities (WWDs) to earn a decent livelihood as a means of social inclusion in Nigeria. Although men and women with disabilities generally experience this barrier, men with disabilities are almost twice as likely to access formal employment than WWDs. WWDs are mostly seen to remain at home, run very small-scale businesses or beg in the streets as a sure means to survive daily. They, as humans, deserve to enjoy equality on all levels including employment because the right to earn a decent living and secure financial independence is a guaranteed human right unfettered by any form of discrimination due to gender, disability or any other factors.

The thesis attempts a critical examination of the existing regulatory and institutional labour framework in Nigeria as it affects the employment rights of women with physical and visual disabilities. It will further explore the possibility of a hybrid regulatory strategy and implementation machinery to ensure the equal employment rights of WWDs in the open labour market and the public service as a tool for their social inclusion.

KATHLEEN AULD (BCom LLB UCT LLM UCT & University of Melbourne)
Thesis title: Sustainable development of small-scale fisheries and the need for strong measures to protect small-scale fisheries in international trade law.

Supervisor: Prof Loretta Feris

Contact details:

Description of research: Small-scale fishers depend for their livelihoods on resources that are fast depleting, and it is increasingly being recognised that fisheries managers must take into account the human element of fishing when deciding how best to manage fish stocks, for both ecological and development reasons. The international community has a number of agreements and voluntary codes regulating fishing capacity, illegal fishing and small-scale fisheries, and international trade agreements are also beginning to include provisions on fisheries. However, there is little mention of small-scale fisheries in those trade agreements that have been concluded, and those that are ongoing, such as the World Trade Organization negotiations, are fraught with disagreement and a focus on national interests, to the detriment of fish stocks and small-scale fishers. Kathleen’s research aims to find ways in which small-scale fisheries can be represented appropriately in international trade agreements, taking into account the need for development and poverty reduction, while simultaneously ensuring that sustainability of fish stocks is not compromised.

CHRISTINA BENINGER (BA Simon Fraser University JD University of Windsor LLM University of Essex)
Thesis Title: Towards Bridging the Gap in Women’s Access to Justice: Rule of Law Assistance and its Prospects for Combating Gender Based Violence

Supervisor: Prof Rashida Manjoo

Description of Research: There have been important developments in international human rights law to strengthen women's access to justice, and combat gender-based violence (GBV). Yet justice is often deeply gendered, and there is a tremendous gap between law and the reality that women often experience in their communities. Among the barriers to justice is the powerful impact of social norms that discriminate against women and perpetuate GBV. At the same time, 'rule of law' programming, focused on justice sector reform, has become a dominant international development approach worldwide, viewed as essential to strengthening access to justice, human rights and development. Yet, while academic scholarship on the rule of law is evolving, the link between rule of law and gender is sometimes challenged, and remains an understudied area. This study involves qualitative research in two country contexts to explore women's perceptions and experiences of justice, and how rule of law reform initiatives respond to these realities. This research links theory with practice to provide insights into the challenges and opportunities offered by rule of law programming, to help bridge the gap in women's access to justice in GBV cases. Christina’s research is supported by the Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Thesis title: Understanding and responding to maritime trafficking off the East African Rim: do the measures against piracy of the Horn of Africa provide a model?

Supervisors: Prof Elrena van der Spuy and Adj Prof. Mark Shaw

Contact details:

Description of research: Carina’s research looks at transnational organized crime at sea and explores responses to ivory and heroin trafficking to and from Eastern Africa and the Swahili coast.  Potential responses are considered by drawing from the international counter-piracy response to Somali piracy. Africa is increasingly becoming a major role player in illicit organized criminal activities undertaken to supply demand in other world regions. This is having an increasingly adverse impact on security, governance and development in the implicated regions. To counter this, there needs to be a concerted international effort pooling together resources, expertise and political will of both public and private stakeholders. The highly effective international response to Somali piracy provides valuable insights into such a multi-stakeholder approach a transnational threat at sea. This inter-disciplinary research project explores the subjects of criminality, governance, development, state failure, law and law enforcement and is informed by interviews and participant observation, undertaken in East Africa and elsewhere, in order to compliment the secondary data.
Thesis title: Policing Xenophobic Violence

Supervisor: Prof Clifford Shearing

Contact details:

Description of research: The aim of this research is to explore the relationship between xenophobic violence and policing practices in South Africa. The issue of xenophobic violence in both urban areas and townships stems from well-documented and widespread xenophobic sentiments and high levels of violence, which reflect the historical, social, cultural, economic, and political background of South Africa. This research examines policing practices in effect at the time of a deadly outbreak of xenophobic violence in 2008, as well as how police capacity management in affected and non-affected areas have developed since then in regard to effective policing practice. I argue that in addition to sensitively managed police human and material resources, police communication both internally among the police and externally with the community has created an overall reduction in overt expressions of xenophobic sentiment.

Thesis title: Reviewing Executive Conduct: Towards a Coherent Account of the Principle of Legality

Name of Supervisors: Prof Danwood Chirwa and Prof Hugh Corder

Contact details:

Description of research: The constitutional principle of legality was developed by the South African court to review conduct of the executive branch of government that falls short of administrative action. The recent and often haphazard development of the manner in which executive conduct has been judicially reviewed by the courts has caused some confusion with regards to how the principle ought to apply due to several inconsistencies in its application. This thesis therefore maps the origins of judicial review of executive conduct to how it has developed and outlining how the expansive principle of legality should be applied going forward. The thesis will propose clear and succinct guidelines on how executive conduct should be reviewed, the appropriate standard that should attach and how far judicial control can go.

Thesis title: Advancing the Right of the Best Interests of the Child in South African Family Related Legal Disputes

Supervisor: Prof Danwood Chirwa

Contact details:

Description of research: Family law has evolved and changed significantly in South Africa and internationally over the years. However, our family related dispute resolution mechanisms are slow to change. Courts and other dispute resolution mechanisms require re-imagining, in the ways in which the best interests of the child are protected and implemented in family related legal disputes. Therefore, it is important to determine the extent to which the principle of the best interests of the child is protected in South Africa and ways in which to enhance and further provide for the protection of the best interests of the child. The research does this by examining and analysing the international children’s rights encompassed by the principle of the best interests of the child, such as the child’s participation rights. Thereafter, the research determines the application of international children’s rights in South Africa and the current methods of dispute resolution in family related legal disputes. This is done with a view to evaluate the proposal of a specialised family law paralegal in South Africa, to ensure the implementation of the best interests of the child in family related legal disputes more efficiently. The research intends to develop a concise role for a specialised paralegal that is appropriate to South African family related legal disputes. This is done by evaluating the need and scope of the specialised paralegal to promote and protect the best interests of the child in, among others, marriage and divorce; in the resolution of parental disputes; in instances of abuse and neglect of the child; and in disputes regarding the gender and homosexuality of children.

ANNEKE EICHSTEDT (BA Sociology Bremen MPhil UCT)

Thesis title: Social reproduction of non-participation: A critical analysis of adolescent rape survivors’ access to justice in South Africa

Supervisor: Dr. Kelley Moult

Contact details:

Description of research: Anneke’s research focuses on the decision-making process of adolescent survivors of sexual violence contemplating to report their victimisation to the South African Police Service. Crime reporting is referred to as the trigger event for the entire criminal justice system and non-reporting choices have profound consequences for the individual survivor and crime prevention/control efforts. Given that children and young women account for the majority of rape cases within the criminal justice system, further research into this important but understudied area of sexual violence service provision is required. Anneke is planning to conduct interviews with adolescent rape survivors, informal supporters and key informants working within the legal field.

Thesis title: Resolving Conflicts Around Nomadic Pastoralism and Environmental Resource Management in Nigeria: A Legal Survey.

Supervisors: Emer.Prof Jan Glazewski and Prof Loretta Feris

Contact details:

Description of research: Jane’s doctoral research seeks to examine the environmental and other related factors that trigger the increased migration by Fulani nomads from the north to the southern part of Nigeria along with the effects of such migration on the environment and the economy of Nigeria. The research adopts a combination of doctrinal and empirical research. Its aim is to propose ways to reconcile the traditional right to nomadic pastoralism, land ownership rights and the anti-open grazing laws as well as protect the environment in the efforts to regulate nomadic pastoralism in Nigeria.

INGRID HOLM (LLB LLM Lund University)
Thesis title: Separating the persecutor from the persecuted - duress as a defence to exclusion from refugee status

Supervisor: Prof Danwood Chirwa

Contact details:
Cell: +27 76 274 2042

Description of research: Ingrid’s thesis focuses on the issue of duress in the commission of international crimes, and how this defence plays a part in the refugee status determination assessment. The research highlights the exclusion mechanism in the international refugee law regime and how exclusion marks the intersection between rights and punishment. Furthermore, the availability of defences to exclusion triggers questions regarding the increasingly blurred line between victim and perpetrator in highly coercive environments such as territories of conflict. The interrogation the current approach to refugee exclusion and the possibility for refugee claimants to raise the defence of duress in the exclusion assessment is important because of a gap in doctrine, and perhaps more importantly, the global political climate surrounding refugee law.  
Thesis title: The Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Promoting and Protecting the Rights of Refugees: The Case of South Africa and Kenya

Supervisor: Prof. Rashida Manjoo

Contact details:

Bio: Vivian holds an LLM, with a specialisation in Refugee and Asylum Law, from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She has over fifteen years experience in the human rights field and has worked in various capacities for the South African Human Rights Commission and international organisations including the UNHCR and the UNICEF.

Description of research: Vivian’s research explores the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in refugee protection. This is premised on the limited availability of evidence on NHRIs and the promotion and protection of refugee rights. Further that where analysis on domestic refugee regimes exists, hardly any reference is made to NHRIs as components of an effective implementation regime. The thesis argues that independent NHRIs with the requisite expertise can play a crucial role in safeguarding and expanding legal protection for refugees. Further, that where a normative gap exists within the refugee protection regime, NHRIs can play an important role in filling that gap. The specific objectives include identifying the normative gaps in international and regional refugee law in order to highlight NHRIs’ role in addressing the protection issues related to refugees in Africa and the extent to which NHRIs protect the rights of refugees. The research focuses on NHRIs in Kenya and South Africa and utilises secondary and primary data (qualitative interviews with refugees and other key informants).   

TINYADE KACHIKA (LLB(Hons) University of Malawi  LLM in International Legal Studies (with Distinction) Georgetown
Thesis title: A critical study of community bylaws as a means of eliminating harmful practices affecting women and girls in Malawi

Supervisors: Prof Danwood Chirwa & Prof Dee Smythe

Contact details:

Description of research: Tinyade’s thesis is exploring the potential of community bylaws as a means of eliminating harmful practices affecting women and girls in Malawi considering that these bylaws are sprouting in rural communities across Malawi, and yet they are not anchored in ‘formal law.’ Using the norm diffusion conceptual framework, the research is seeking to explain the factors that are influencing the use of community bylaws to ensure the protection of the right of women to be free from harmful practices. By understanding how harmful practices are being conceptualised in the community bylaws, the research is going to establish whether or not such understanding is consistent with domestic and international human rights law norms. In this project, the thesis will establish whether or not the community bylaws can be defended as a sincere form of norm internalisation of women’s human rights and will test if the community bylaws phenomenon is revealing other facets of norm internalisation that are at play when the action ground is a rural setting. Furthermore, the thesis is seeking to establish the legal validity of the community bylaws by interrogating the relationship between the bylaws and African customary law within the broader context of legal pluralism.

Thesis title: The realization of the right to health by weak health systems and the role of the judiciary for accountability; Nigeria as a case study

Name of Supervisor: Prof Dee Smythe

Contact details:

Description of research:  Omowamiwa’s thesis examines the obligation to fulfill the right to health in low- and Middle-income countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. The thesis focuses on States where there is no express constitutional provision for the right to health and there is limited normative clarity on its content. The focus is especially due to these States’ limited capacity to realize the right due to limited resources in the face of competing interests.  Using Nigeria as a case study of States with this phenomenon, he examines specifically, the obligation to fulfill, by providing health care as a key element of the broader right to health. Incorporating human rights research with health systems research, he looks at the six pillars of the health system and how they may be strengthened through the normalization of right to health law even in the face of claims of non-justiciability of socioeconomic rights. The thesis interrogates how normative clarity on the right to health care can help broad based health system strengthening and reform to make the health system better able to fulfill its duties to the populace. He explores how the judiciary may then hold the health system accountable as an agent of the State to its duties bearing in mind the principle of progressive realization and its implications for resource allocation. 

Thesis title: South African criminology’s aetiological crisis: reflections on a century of murder

Supervisors: Adj Prof. Mark Shaw and Prof Elrena van der Spuy

Contact details:
Twitter: @Anine_Kriegler

Description of research: Anine's primary areas of research interest are crime statistics and drug policy. Her dissertation investigates South African crime statistics over the last century. It speaks to debates on the causes of crime, especially in South Africa, on the relationship between social theory and empirical data, and on the value of criminological statistics, with a particular focus on the incidence of murder.

Thesis title: ‘The Constitutionality of the Application of the Sub Judice Rule in the South African Parliamentary Proceedings’

Supervisors: Prof PJ Schwikkard & Ms Lauren Kohn

Contact details:

Description of research: Ishmael’s thesis focuses on the constitutionality of invoking the sub judice rule in parliamentary proceedings in the light of the executive’s constitutional duty to account on any public affairs. However, the usual remit by public officials and politicians is that ‘a matter is sub judice’ in an attempt to avoid dealing with controversial or unpalatable questions relating to public affairs. The executive and Parliament have the constitutional duty to account for public affairs and exercise oversight on public affairs respectively. The sub judice rule, in a parliamentary setting, appears to upset this constitutional imperative.  My thesis is that the sub judice rule undermines and hampers the proper conduct of parliamentary affairs, thus repugnant to the provisions of the South African Constitution. In other words, the sub judice rule may not pass constitutional muster. The research is topical and hopes to contribute to the resolution of the controversy concerning the application of the rule in South African parliamentary proceedings.

TABETH MASENGU (LLB Rhodes LLM London School of Economics and Political Science)
Thesis title: The Judicial Appointment Process and Gender in The Judiciary: The Case of South Africa and Zambia.

Supervisors: Prof Hugh Corder (UCT) and Prof. Eva Brems (Ghent University)

Contact details:

Description of research: This research aims to fill the gap in existing literature on Gender and Judging, by providing case studies from an African Perspective.  Using South Africa and Zambia, the research examines the judicial appointment process in regard to women specifically. How does the judicial appointment processes in these two countries enable women to ascend to the bench and are there factors that limit women’s judicial aspirations? Using empirical data and existing literature, the thesis examines the structure and context of the two jurisdictions, the judicial appointment bodies, the role of the judge and how this affects women, the legal profession and other relevant factors.  The research compares relevant literature from other studies in the West and draws out aspects that are common and uncommon in the two jurisdictions. At a practical level, the research aims to provide useful recommendations that would influence policies seeking to improve the representation of women on Superior Court benches.

Thesis title: Masters of their Universe: Masculinity, Muscularity, and Steroid Use in a Gym Setting: A South African Case Study

Supervisors: Prof Robert Morrell; Dr Simon Howell; Prof Dee Smythe

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Description of research: In this thesis Tamsanqa explore the world of the gym, the personal histories that contributed to these men becoming engaged in gym culture and the values that they espouse to explain their obsession. He is interested in exploring their views on their activities and on the boundary between legal and illegal use of supplements (including steroids).

Thesis title: To Explore How the Criminal Justice System Use Forensic DNA Evidence in Resolving Cases of Defilement in Kenya.

Supervisor: Dr Kelley Moult

Contact details:

Description of Research: The study recognizes that cases of defilement are increasingly being adjudicated by the court, available research illustrates feeble management of DNA evidence characterized by poor collection methods, inappropriate preservation and storage facilities, lack of standardized format for analysis, documentation and translation of evidence.  The inefficiency has led to a huge backlog of cases, low prosecution rates, delayed and compromised justices for victims of defilement and wrongful identification of perpetrators. The study intends to explore the use of forensic DNA evidence in resolving cases of defilement.

Thesis title: Administering Justice for Sexual Offences in South African Universities

Supervisor: Prof Dee Smythe

Contact details:

Description of research: Grace’s research focuses on disciplinary tribunal processes for sexual offences in South African universities. It seeks to ask and answer how we can formulate disciplinary processes so that they are victim friendly, regulated, yield more just outcomes, and are cognisant of the complex socio-legal display of power that characterizes sexual violence.

Thesis title: Human Rights, Modernity and Culture: Does the current human rights framework and discourse include traditional African practices such as lobola as a form of violence against women?

Supervisor: Prof Rashida Manjoo

Contact details:

Description of research: Over the past few years, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in its comments to Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe advised these states to take positive steps to eliminate the practice of lobola as it was a practice that disproportionately affected women by arguing that it should be recognized as a harmful traditional and cultural practice. However, in the same period, the Committee’s comments to other state parties such as South Africa, where the same cultural practice is observed, did not get the same comment. A few questions arise from this lack of standard application of what consists of a harmful traditional cultural practice in one state and not the other? It is from this stand point that the research seeks to investigate the practice on the ground, whether women and men who practice it view it as such and thereby qualifying whether this practice should be called a form of violence against women? If it is, why are we not calling it as such across all cultures? More generally, this research discusses broadly the extent to which the current human rights discourse is influenced by the idea of progress and modernity, by examining whether it is an intrinsically western discourse that has space for the practice of some customs, in this case, lobola.  The research also discusses the extent to which this right to culture can be reconciled with a woman’s right to be free from violence, particularly looking at the practice of lobola.

Thesis Title: Employment, Education and Health: Botswana's struggle with key disability rights.

Supervisor: Prof Danwood Chirwa

Contact details:

Description of research: The research tackles the issue of the implementation of key socio-economic rights within Botswana's disability landscape. The research tests Botswana's disability framework, with respect to these key rights against existing disability models and international conventions. The key question the research seeks to answer is whether Botswana is fulfilling its obligations with respect to the protection, fulfillment, enforcement and promotion of socio economic rights for persons with disabilities.

Thesis Title: Participation in decision making within prison settings as a tool for enhancing the enjoyment of the right to health: The case of women prisoners in Zambia.

Supervisor: A/Prof Waheeda Amien

Contact Details:

Description of Research: Chipo’s research is stirred by the many challenges women prisoners in Zambia experience in accessing healthcare goods and services and consequential violations of their rights to health. The Zambia Correctional Services health care system determines prisoners’ health and the extent to which they enjoy their right to health. The healthcare system and regulatory system applicable to prison settings in Zambia determine how various social and economic positions of prisoners, such as gender, age, disability, social origins, geographical location and economic stability impact on prisoners’ health. Although all prisoners in Zambian correctional facilities experience challenges in accessing healthcare goods and services, women prisoners are disproportionately affected. At the core of the challenges experienced by women prisoners are the existence of a prisons health system that perpetuates vulnerability to health risks and consequent violation of their right to health and a regulatory framework that does not adequately respond to the unique needs of women prisoners.  The aim of Chipo’s research is thus two pronged:

i. To examine the role of participation of women prisoners in decision-making to enhance their enjoyment of their right to health; and

ii. To examine how the Zambian regulatory framework can effectively guarantee such participation.

NERIDA NTHAMBURI (LLB University of Nairobi LLM UCT)

Thesis title: Gender and Judging: An Analysis of The Effect of Encouraging Gender Diversity and Balance in Judiciaries in Kenya and Uganda

Supervisor: Prof Hugh Corder

Contact details:

Description of research: Nerida’s thesis examines ways in which gender makes a difference in the way judiciaries work and should work. The oft-repeated sentiment is that ‘justice is blind’- does this also mean justice is gender-blind? This thesis will analyse various structural and institutional barriers to women’s appointment and access to judicial careers in judiciaries in Kenya and Uganda. Gender equality is increasingly recognized as a fundamental component of a well-functioning and modern judicial system. Through the use of well-researched case studies and recommendations, Nerida hopes to contribute towards the quality and efficiency of judicial systems in Kenya and Uganda through highlighting the importance of gender equality and diverse representation in judiciaries. This research is premised on the sociology of law, to determine how engendering the judicial system contributes to a more responsive and representative government.


Thesis title: Whether and How South Africa’s Adversarial Criminal Justice System Can Accommodate a Sexual Offence Complainant’s Right or Interest to Participate in the Criminal Process

Supervisor: Prof Dee Smythe

Contact details:

Description of research: This research explores whether the criminal procedure mechanisms that target sexual offence complainants are limited to mitigating harm to complainants, that is, mechanisms aimed at preventing secondary victimisation, rather than participatory mechanisms. A fuller understanding of what is meant by participatory rights allows for a proper understanding of whether South Africa’s adversarial system must evolve to accommodate these rights. Because the adversarial system precludes the participation of any third party, the question of complainant participation has not been adequately addressed, with most South African commentators purporting to speak to complainant participation, but actually speaking to protective mechanisms.

RONALD ALLAMANO ONG’UDI (LLB(Hons) Moi PGDip Kenya School of Law LLM Deakin, Australia)

Thesis title: Enforcing the Bill of Rights as a Limit on the Application of the Political Question Doctrine. A study of Kenya, South Africa and United States of America

Supervisor: A/Prof Cathleen Powell

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Description of research: Ronald’s research reviews the application of the political question doctrine with a specific focus on Kenya, South Africa and the United States. The research proceeds from the understanding that political questions are by their very nature non-justiciable. This view is embodied in the classical exposition of the doctrine. By affirming the political question doctrine, courts allow political actors the “jurisdiction” to resolve political questions with a measure of finality.

Ronald’s research departs from the traditional application of the doctrine by advocating for the justiciability of political questions that bear a nexus to a fundamental right and freedom.

Thesis title: Towards Conceptualizing a Witness Protection Framework in Nigeria.

Supervisors:  Prof Elrena van der Spuy and Dr Hannah Woolaver

Contact details:, or

Description of research: Suzzie’s research seeks to investigate how Nigeria can engage in global discourse and practices on witness protection to develop a framework best suited for it in reforming its criminal justice system. Nigeria has no established framework for protecting witnesses. Preliminary desk review reveals that there are semblances of witness protection captured within the text of several legislative provisions in Nigeria. This has created a system of ad hoc practices in witness protection in Nigeria. Also there is paucity of empirical research on witness protection within the Nigerian context. It is therefore expected that the proposed research fills the existing gap in knowledge about the modalities of witness protection in Nigeria. The research adopts a combination of doctrinal and empirical research. The empirical component adopts a qualitative methodology comprising semi structures interviews of key individuals in Nigeria.

Thesis title: “Land Acquisition and Compensation in the Petroleum Communities in Tanzania: Resource Conflicts Mitigating Approach.”

Supervisor: Prof Danwood Chirwa

Contact details:

Description of research: The motivation behind Aloys study is a phenomenon quite trite in most of African peace and security or economic and political literature in general, which confirms that petroleum exploitation in Africa, is the cause of major civil wars fought in the continent. This phenomenon has been dubbed ‘resource curse syndrome’ with some economic and political scholars such as Paul Collier and Stilgiz. Some skeptical views have gone far to argue that Africa either trundles with the rhythms of violence or appears perpetually bound to violence. The point of departure in this study is that human rights methods can be used to avoid conflicts in the petroleum communities in Africa. The study uses Tanzania as a case study.

GHADA AWAD M. SHAWGI (LLB(Hons) University of Khartoum LLM Queen’s University of Belfast)

Thesis title: Minority Rights and Accommodation of Cultural Diversity: The International Framework and Sudan Constitution

Supervisor: A/Prof Waheeda Amien

Contact details:

Description of research: Sudan is one of the African countries that witnesses prolong civil war and conflict since its independence. The issue of accommodation of cultural and ethnic diversity is a prominent root cause of Sudan conflicts. The thesis is attempting to explore the scope of the international framework of accommodation of diversity and minority rights and to investigate to what extent the Sudan constitution is complying with it. The research aims to recommend the key features of a constitutional model tailored for Sudan that based on equal citizenship rights and protection of minority cultures.


Thesis title: An analysis of the regulatory environment governing electronic evidence in South Africa: Suggestions for reform

Supervisors: Prof PJ Schwikkard and Prof Caroline Ncube

Contact details:

Description of research: Technology has developed rapidly over the last three decades.  Over the last decade in particular, information is regularly transmitted and stored electronically – and only electronically.  As a result, Lee Swales’ thesis focuses on the regulation of electronic evidence in South Africa.  It examines hearsay electronic evidence; whether a presumption of regularity exists in South Africa; whether admissibility and weight of electronic evidence is appropriately regulated; and considers the South African Law Reform Commission’s (‘SALRC’) selected option for law reform.  In response to society’s reliance on technology, and evolving communication norms, the SALRC has suggested three different methodologies for law reform in relation to electronic evidence and recommends the most aggressive of these options in the form of a Law of Evidence Bill. In this thesis, Lee agrees with many of the findings made by the SALRC but disagrees with the option recommended for law reform. As suggested by several other stakeholders, rather than a drastic overhaul of the current legal framework, the thesis proposes a more cautious amendment of existing legislation.

PAUL TURAY (LL.B. Hons FBC; MA Coventry University)

Thesis title: Prolonged and Arbitrary Arrest and Detention: An Access to Justice Dilemma for South Sudan

Supervisor: Prof PJ Schwikkard

Contact details:

Description of research: Paul’s research examines how Prolonged and Arbitrary Arrest and Detention (PAD) has become a justice and human rights challenge for South Sudan. The research builds on existing theoretical knowledge, regional and international legal framework and case law as well as drawing on lessons learned, and best practices drawn from different context and increases awareness on PAD as a specific justice and human rights concern of South Sudan. The research explores how a limitation in the awareness and the application of human rights; the limited geographic coverage and dysfunctional judicial and law enforcement institutions, and; an insufficiency of required logistics for the provision of justice services is perpetuating PAD in South Sudan and rendering it an inevitable consequence of justice service delivery in South Sudan. As South Sudan contends with the challenges of nationhood, this research shall provide a critical understanding of the status of the criminal justice sector in South Sudan and makes recommendations on how the identified challenges and limitations could be addressed in preventing PAD and making the justice system work for all South Sudanese.

Thesis title: ‘The Illegal Organ Trade in Africa: Rhetoric, Reality and Policy Solutions’

Supervisors: Adj Prof. Mark Shaw and Prof Elrena van der Spuy

Description of research: Faith’s doctoral research seeks to explore the incidences of organ trafficking in Africa, the involvement of Africans in the global organ trade both as organ sellers and buyers, and the policy issues around a proper regulation of organ transplant systems in Africa, which could serve as a contributing factor to the occurrence and growth of illicit organ trade.  It seeks to answer the core question of the extent to which the illegal organ trade and organ trafficking is a problem in Africa. She considers the research to be of utmost importance at this time because organ trafficking is one of the least profiled forms of human trafficking, particularly in Africa. The research seeks to explore the variations of organ trafficking as it obtains in Africa ; variations such as cases of kidnapping for the removal of body parts, use of body parts for vodoo or African traditional medicine, lack of transplant technologies contributing to the exploitation of people’s organs in Africa, and so on. It also seeks to analyse the exploitation of migrant population in the global organ market and more particularly, in Africa.

ZUZANA VRBOVA (Mgr. Charles University, Prague)

Thesis title:Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technologies in the Context of the International Climate Change Regime and Intellectual Property Law

Supervisors: Emer.Prof Jan Glazewski and Dr Tobias Schonwetter

Contact details:

Description of research:  Zuzana’s research is focused on the issue of an effective transfer of environmentally sound technologies which was recognized as crucial when tackling the climate change. She asks these research questions: What is the relationship between the transfer of environmentally sound technologies and intellectual property law, and what possible adjustments to the international intellectual property law framework or other legal tools facilitating the transfer could be made in order to make environmental technologies more easily available?