The Faculty of Law, with its origins dating back to 1859, is the oldest faculty of law in South Africa. Recently rated within the top 100 law schools in the world, it is the academic home to a community of over 100 legal scholars who are committed to the following specific goals: teaching and research which is of the highest quality; developing all staff and students to their fullest potential; promoting an institutional culture founded on mutual tolerance, respect, understanding, integrity and openness, one which values our common humanity and which celebrates and promotes diversity.

The Faculty is divided into three Departments, namely Commercial Law, Private Law and Public Law. These Departments are supported by a diverse array of Research Institutes and Units including the following: Institute of Development and Labour Law; Shipping Law Unit; Intellectual Property Law and Policy Research Unit; UCT Law Clinic; Centre for Criminology; Democratic Rights and Governance Unit; Institute of Marine and Environmental Law; Law, Race and Gender Research Unit; and the Refugee Rights Project. Collaboration between these research entities is facilitated through the Faculty’s Centre for Legal and Applied Research. The Faculty is also home to UCT’s Law Library which is linked to all major electronic databases and houses 284 top class journals and more than 85 000 volumes.

The Faculty is invigorated by the challenges it faces both within the University and the wider society. In both spheres it has an international and domestic reputation as a leading centre for critical and innovative thought. This recognition is due to our exceptional teaching and research staff. Of our permanent staff, 14 are NRF-rated researchers – the highest number of any Law Faculty in South Africa. Together, this community of legal scholars administers the main degree programmes offered by the Faculty, namely: Bachelor of Laws; Master of Laws; Master of Philosophy; Postgraduate Diploma in Law; Doctor of Philosophy; and Doctor of Laws.

The Faculty has seen significant growth in the past five years, particularly in respect of its postgraduate student body, which now constitutes about 40 per cent of the entire student body. These postgraduate students are drawn from over 20 countries and are enrolled in a diverse range of specialist postgraduate programmes. The administration of these programmes is coordinated by the Faculty’s School for Advanced Legal Studies (SALS).