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Basic legal educational programme

Prospective students

Download the Faculty of Law Handbook in PDF format from the UCT website.

General outline and guidelines for intending students

The LL.B degree provides students with a sound knowledge of the general principles of the South African legal system, and an ability to use legal materials effectively. Graduates should be able to assess critically, interpret and apply the law and have the historical, comparative and jurisprudential background that is essential for a thorough and critical understanding of law and legal institutions.

The degree is offered in four streams:

  • a three-year graduate LLB stream, where a non-Law undergraduate degree is followed by the graduate LLB programme
  • a three or four-year  Humanities or Commerce degree with Law as a major, followed by a two-year graduate LLB degree; 
  • a four-year undergraduate LLB stream - this is a straight LLB programme
  • a five-year undergraduate LLB stream - this undergraduate LLB may be taken over 5 years and is open to students from redress categories only.  See below for more detail.

Course for the LLB programmes

Administrative Law Commercial Transactions Law
Civil Procedure Labour Law
Comparative Legal History Constitutional Law
Corporation Law Criminal Law
Criminal Procedure Evidence
Foundations of South African Law International Law
Law of Contract Jurisprudence
Law of Persons and Marriage Law of Delict
Law of Succession Law of Property
African Customary Law and optional and research components

Prospective lawyers are encouraged to include courses in the national languages in their curricula.

In each stream the courses are graded into three levels.

  1. At the preliminary level the courses focus on the background and the foundations of the South African legal system, with the method of legal thinking and analysis, and with an understanding of the role and function of law. In addition, particular attention is paid to reading and writing skills required for the senior courses.
  2. The intermediate level courses provide instruction on a more advanced level in a broad range of core subjects.
  3. The final level completes the degree and students are able to specialise by choosing from a range of optional courses.

Each level of the LLB degree curriculum includes a skills component which forms part of the degree programme and cumulatively teaches students generic practical skills such as problem solving, analysis, research and communication skills, as well as practical legal skills such as drafting particular kinds of legal documents, and legal argumentation, both written and verbal. In particular, at the final level, there is a compulsory integrated assessment project which draws on elements of the skills component and courses studied in the earlier parts of the curriculum.

Law students are encouraged also to make constructive use of the knowledge and skills they acquire by contributing to the community through Legal Aid, Shawco, Rape Crisis, Parliamentary Monitoring Group, or similar outreach activities.

Please read the Admission and Curriculum Rules for LLB Degree Streams in the Faculty Handbook.

Three-year graduate LL.B stream

Students enter this stream after having completed a Bachelor's degree without law subjects. The Faculty regards this as the best way to approach the study of law; it considers a broad education in the Humanities, Commerce or Sciences as an indispensable part of legal training. Students who have done a full degree in another discipline will have had the greatest opportunity to develop their critical and analytical skills in a non-legal environment, and therefore will be equipped to benefit from legal studies.

Five- or six-year Law and Humanities or Law and Commerce LL.B stream

Students enter this stream with the intention of following an undergraduate programme in Humanities OR  Commerce, leading to a BA or  BCom/BBusSc with a major in Law,  and thereafter a two-year graduate LLB degree. The objective of a broad-based education is achieved in this stream by including cognate courses which ensure that the student has a thorough grasp of at least one discipline outside of Law.

Four-year undergraduate LL.B stream

Students enter this stream as matriculants (provided they meet the entrance requirements) and complete the LL.B degree in four years. Humanities courses are included in the curriculum so as to fulfil the objective of providing UCT law graduates with a well rounded, broad-based legal education.  Applicants from redress population groups who meet the minimum FPS and NBT admission criteria but who do not meet the FPS or WPS as required for admission to the four-year LLB programme may be offered a place in the five-year programme.  Admission to the programme is made on a competitive basis.

The five-year LLB programme

Applicants from redress categories who meet the minimum FPS and NBT admission criteria but who do not achieve the FPS or WPS required for admission to the four-year LLB programme may be offered a place on the five-year programme. Admission to the programme is made on a competitive basis. The five-year programme differs from the four-year programme only in that the first year of the four-year programme is taught over two years rather than one year, and additional support is provided to students during the first three years of the degree. The reason this is done is to provide students who have the potential to succeed in their LLB studies but whose schooling has not fully prepared them for the transition from school to university studies with the best possible opportunity to succeed in their LLB studies.

Get the entire Faculty of Law Handbook in PDF format.