Championing justice, defending dignity, advocating equality & promoting rights

In an ever-evolving global landscape, the pursuit of justice and the protection of fundamental human rights stand as paramount objectives.

Offered through our Public Law department, our postgraduate human rights law programme is convened by Salona Lutchman. This specialised legal focus will equip aspiring legal professionals, activists, policymakers, and academics with the essential tools to navigate and interrogate the intricate legal frameworks that safeguard human rights, and that serve as the foundation for a just and equitable society.

This programme, an LLM or MPhil in Human Rights Law, appeals to a diverse range of legal professionals with a shared commitment to human rights. Law graduates aiming to specialise in this field will acquire a deep understanding of domestic and international legal systems to champion human rights causes on various platforms. Activists and advocates gain the necessary legal expertise to amplify their causes and effect real change, while policymakers gain insights and understanding to craft informed legislation that aligns with human rights principles. The Master's in Human Rights Law will ensure that participants are able critically to analyse and contribute to the ever-growing body of human rights jurisprudence, and to foster intellectual growth, knowledge development and progress in this critical rights field.

Graduates of our programme have the potential to become catalysts for positive transformation, eradicating systemic injustices and advancing equality. Our graduates actively engage in legal battles to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable and provide legal support to marginalised communities. Furthermore, our Human Rights Law graduates contribute to policy formulation and the promulgation of laws that seek to protect vulnerable communities. Ultimately, this qualification bolsters efforts to promote social justice, preserve human dignity, and create a more equitable society.

Programme structure

Each of the postgraduate options offer different requirements and structures, and are taught accordingly. While courses are taught at the applicable level, the requirements across the qualifications is the same in terms of course work - requiring the completion of three core courses, and a choice of one of the two electives on offer. The remaining requirements depend on which qualification you are pursuing and can include additional research tasks for each course (professional master's); or a dissertation (25,000) on a topic that you propose. 

The curriculum for this Master's qualification comprises four elective courses and a compulsory minor dissertation of not more than 25 000 words on a related topic.These components fulfil the required 240 credits.

Further information and detail is in the Faculty's handbook and on our Programmes pages.

Core courses

Three courses can be chosen from the following:

  1. International Rights of the Child 
  2. International Protection of Human Rights
  3. International Protection of Women’s Human Rights
  4. Refugee Law and Human Rights
  5. Human Rights, Legal Pluralism, Religion and Culture
  6. Litigating South African Bill of Rights
  7. Punishment and Human Rights

One course must be selected from the following Law courses:

  1. International Law in Theory and Practice
  2. International Law on Disputes and Use of Force
  3. Governing under the Constitution: Law and Practice
  4. Sexual Offences and the Law
  5. Administrative Justice and Open Government 
  6. Transparency Law & Governance: Global and Local Theory & Practice
  7. Police and Policing: Explorations in Security Governance
  8. Victims and Victimology
  9. Criminal Process and Human Rights

Programme code (LLM or MPhil)

LM003PBL05/ LM002PBL05