Centre for Law & Society

Centre for Law & Society (CLS)


About us

The Law, Race & Gender Research Unit was established in 1993 to provide training and support to judicial officers as courts faced the challenge of transforming their structures and jurisprudence in line with constitutional and democratic values. From the outset LRG's approach was to translate excellent research into accessible training materials and to enlist judicial officers as peer facilitators. Participatory workshops provided an opportunity for researchers at LRG to share knowledge, but were also centrally about providing opportunities for participant magistrates to share information, learn from each other, and for LRG researchers to tap into the issues that were arising for this group. In this way LRG trained over a thousand judicial officers, developing training materials on issues including HIV, sexual offences, domestic violence, race and racism, and judicial ethics.

Since that time, LRG's areas of focus have expanded, but it has retained the emphasis on participation, knowledge sharing, and capacity building as central tenets of its scholarly approach. This commitment made it a particularly appropriate home for the establishment of the Rural Women's Action Research Project (RWAR) in 2009. RWAR developed out of the work of Aninka Claassens and the Legal Resources Centre, on the Communal Land Rights Act litigation (which ultimately succeeded in having the CLRA declared unconstitutional), which similarly sat at a nexus between research, social engagement and litigation. Since that time, RWAR has become established as a critical and very influential voice in debates about customary law and traditional leadership. LRG remains involved in issues relating to judicial training and has substantial expertise in the area of gender-based violence.

Visit the CLS website for more information.