Message from the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law: Dr Lynn Biggs

Justice, Transformation, Integrity, Excellence and Accountability

The Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Law is distinctive without being boutique and is focussed on serving and empowering society to fulfil the constitutional goals through legal education, research and engagement, driven by justice, transformation, integrity, excellence and accountability. 

The Faculty of Law believes that its unique strategic identity is underpinned by the following values, which support its mandate. It is the Faculty’s understanding that these values mean:  

  • Justice: the promotion of fair opportunities, actions, processes, and outcomes;  
  • Transformation: the recognition of diversity and the advancement of inclusivity to achieve a renewed state of being;
  • Integrity: the quality of being honest, acting ethically, respecting the dignity of others and enhancing academic freedom; 
  • Excellence: the quality of being outstanding and striving for the achievement of full potential;  
  • Accountability: the obligation to own what one does and take responsibility for the result. 

The Faculty of Law contributes to the institution’s vision of being a dynamic African university, recognised for its leadership in generating cutting-edge knowledge for a sustainable future. We are pleased to be able to say that the Faculty was one of the first three law schools in the country that received accreditation for the LLB qualification from the Council for Higher Education after the National Review of the LLB programme conducted in 2016 and 2017. We, at the Faculty of Law, pride ourselves on delivering high quality law qualifications, while making our own particular contribution to the legal landscape and shaping the next generation of legal practitioners. We continuously strive to ensure that all the programmes we offer are nationally, regionally, and globally contextually relevant and future focussed. 

Our faculty boasts highly respected academic staff and committed support staff who combine to provide a top-quality educational experience for our students.   Our staff are committed not only to the values of the institution and Faculty but also to the values of the Constitution such as respect for diversity, excellence, ubuntu and integrity.  We are committed to ensuring that our students develop the unique attributes associated with our namesake, Nelson Mandela, and aspire to nurture graduates who are socially conscious, responsible global citizens who serve the public good. Because we provide a solid legal education foundation, coupled with deliberate and ongoing interaction with members of the legal profession, we believe that our graduates are equipped with the necessary attributes for a successful career in law.  Many of our students graduating with a qualification from the Nelson Mandela University Faculty of Law have assumed leading positions at top law firms and other businesses in South Africa and abroad and are making a meaningful contribution to serve the public good.

We offer practical learning possibilities to equip students to enter the working world. We have refurbished our Moot Courtroom to include the latest technology to enrich the simulated learning experiences of our students when participating in Mock Trials and moot court. Our Law Clinic based on the Missionvale Campus has invested in additional devices and webcams to allow for online, in addition to face-to-face, consultations with clients to enhance the practical learning of our students.  The Law Clinic has also worked with one of the most reputable law firms in the country to pilot the use of the latest legal practice software.  The feedback from our graduates and their employers, is that they felt better equipped when it came to integrating into legal practice.  We also have recently established a Labour Advice Office housed in the Dulcie September Building in Cuyler Street, where practical labour law advice is provided to farm workers and other employees.

Our offerings ensure that our students and staff engage in and with South African society. For example, our Centre for Law in Action is an internationally renowned entity that focuses on improving service delivery at various governmental levels and increasing access to justice for people in need. Our Labour and Social Security Law Unit is nationally recognised for the training conducted by its members, particularly in the area of Labour Law, and the faculty’s Refugee Rights Centre provides key legal services to communities in the Eastern Cape.  We have recently added the Refugee Rights Law module to our mix of electives for final year LLB students, where students observe and engage in consultations with refugee and asylum seeker clients.

On the research front, our academic staff continue to produce an increasing body of published research work in various areas of law, and a number of colleagues are furthering their qualifications. The Faculty includes a prestigious Chair in the Law of the Sea and Development in Africa housed at the university’s unique Ocean Sciences Campus. Our staff and honorary, distinguished, emeritus, adjunct and visiting professors can share their research with undergraduate and postgraduate students, and students participate in discussions about the latest developments in law during lectures, webinars, conferences (such as the Annual Private Law and Social Justice Conference) and monthly Research Hubs hosted by the Faculty. The Faculty has also fostered relationships with nationally and internationally recognised judges, advocates, attorneys and academics, to work with us to develop and inspire the next cohort of legal scholars at Nelson Mandela University. These developments and initiatives have resulted in a number of other spin-offs, such as hosting the Law and Development Research Network (LDRN) Conference in 2021 and the Oceans, Justice and Human Rights Conference in 2022.

The Faculty invests in our own top students each year and have implemented a programme where we appoint around 20 of our best graduates for a two-year period to pursue masters’ or doctoral qualifications, and to work within the Faculty.  Our postgraduate associates provide a source of peer-mentorship for our undergraduates and postgraduates and assist with the facilitation of tutorials and discussion sessions.  We also encourage our students to actively participate in student organisations such as the Law Students’ Society and Black Lawyers Association Student Chapter.  We work closely with the student leaders to enrich the student experience.

You can find us in the Embizweni Building on the South Campus. The space has been beautifully refurbished over the past few years and boasts a new boardroom, reception area and working spaces. The new wing includes a lecture theatre and houses additional offices, including space for our adjunct and visiting professors and judges.  The new lecture venue includes the latest audio-visual technology, including an interactive screen, which bolsters and enhances the digital learning and teaching experiences for our students.

I believe that the distinguishing features of our faculty will instil the dedication and passion in our students through life-long learning experiences that will enable them to utilise their qualification and legal knowledge to liberate human potential and contribute to addressing societal challenges.  We trust that this website will provide readers with some insights about our Faculty and look forward to engaging with all our stakeholders as we strive to meet the university’s challenge to Change the World.