Features - Researching South African Law

Amanda Barratt has been the Law Librarian at the University of Cape Town Law Library since January 2001. She has 10 years experience as a reference librarian, and previously headed the University's African Studies Library. Amanda holds a B.A. (Hons.) degree in History from the University of Cape Town, and the LLB and LLM degrees from the University of South Africa. Amanda is also employed as a Senior Researcher at the University of Cape Town's Centre for Socio-Legal Research, and is currently preparing for a PhD on a legal history topic.

Pamela Snyman is a senior reference librarian at the University of Cape Town Law Library. She has 22 years experience as a law librarian. Pamela holds the B.Bibl and LLB degrees from the University of South Africa and is currently completing her LLM degree.


 

Table of Contents

Introduction
Historical Note
Structure of the State
Legislative and Executive Branches
Sources of Legislation
Treaties
Judiciary
Published Decisions of South African Courts in Print Form
Printed Indexes to South African Case Law
Online Access to South African Case Law
South African Legal Journals
Reference Works
Dictionaries
Encyclopaedia and Current Awareness Services
A Selection of Introductory Textbooks
A Selection of Useful Websites for South African Legal Research
Citation

 

Introduction

South African law consists of the common law (previous decisions of the superior courts, and rules set down by the 'old Roman-Dutch authorities') and statutory law (Acts of the national and provincial legislatures, and governmental regulations). The law is not codified and, like English law, must be sought in court decisions and individual statutes. Since 1994, the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa has been the supreme law.

Historical Note

In the mid-seventeenth century, Dutch settlers began to occupy the part of South Africa now known as the Western Cape. In 1806, English forces defeated the Dutch settlers and took the Cape of Good Hope as a British possession. South African law reflects this history of successive colonial governance. The 'common law' of the country (in this context, 'common law' implies law of non-statutory origin) is based on the 'Roman-Dutch' law of the original Dutch settlers. This is civilian law - Roman law as interpreted by the Dutch writers of the 17th and 18th centuries. Thus originally, important sources of South African law were the treatises of authors such as Grotius, Johannes Voet, Simon Groenewegen and Johannes van der Linden. Law was modified or expanded by statute.

When the British took possession of the Cape in 1806 they did not impose their substantive legal system in a formal way. Instead, it was decided that the local Roman-Dutch law would remain in force. However, English procedural law was adopted and this had a tendency to influence substantive provisions. Furthermore, Roman-Dutch Law did not always cater for the requirements of the modern society that developed during the 19th century, necessitating legislative innovations, which were often based on English Acts and interpreted using relevant English precedent. The advocates and judges of the superior courts were usually trained in England and tended to rely on their English treatises. As a result of such factors, the Roman-Dutch law of the Cape Colony was overlaid with a heavy English law influence. The Cape legal system was, in turn, followed by the British colony in Natal, and also, in many respects, by the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek (the Transvaal) and the Oranjevrijstaat (the Orange Free State) - the Boer Republics established by Dutch trekkers in the mid-nineteenth century.

After the South African Anglo-Boer War (1899 -1902), Britain took control of all parts of South Africa, and in 1910, a Union of South Africa was established with four provinces: the Cape, Natal, the Orange Free State, and the Transvaal. Following this amalgamation, the legal systems of the four territories were made more consistent, partly through legislative innovation, and partly through the activities of the new Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, the highest court country-wide in terms of the 1909 South Africa Act.

Today, many commentators regard the resulting legal system as a truly hybrid system, a mix of English common law and civilian Roman-Dutch legal principles. While many legal doctrines and the arrangement of the law in general can be traced to a civilian heritage, court procedure owes much to the common law tradition, with adversarial trial, detailed case reports (which include dissenting judgments), and adherence to precedent.

The formal legal system is dominated by this European heritage. Of course, most South Africans are not of European extraction. During the period of English governance, a system of 'Native Administration' was established. According to this policy, indigenous people could rule themselves according to indigenous law in certain matters, for example rules of marriage and succession. The colonial state retained exclusive jurisdiction over matters such as serious crime. Matters of customary law were heard by chiefs and headmen, with a right of appeal to the Native Appeal Court, staffed by magistrates. Today, South Africa retains a plural legal system, with customary law remaining a legal system for those who wish to be subject to it. The rules of customary law may not, however, conflict with the South African Constitution.

Segregationist policies were evident from earliest times, and were an aspect of official policy during the pre-1948 era. However, 'apartheid' became the official South African government policy following the electoral victory of the Nationalist Party in 1948. Key legislation creating this policy included the Population Registration Act 30 of 1950 (classifying the South African population into 'racial groups'); the Group Areas Act 41 of 1950 (providing for the segregation of residential and other areas) and a plethora of other acts designed to segregate every aspect of life, including public administration, education, health services, employment, transport and public amenities. 'Grand apartheid' divided the territory of South Africa into separate 'states', some of which (the Transkei, Boputhatswana, Venda and the Ciskei) were given 'independence' by the South African government. In terms of South African law, the 'citizens' of such states lost their South African citizenship. Residents of the TBVC states, as well as those of other 'ethnic homelands' were not permitted to remain in 'white South Africa' without permission (the 'pass laws'), unless they qualified to do so in terms of Act 67 of 1952 or other statutory exemptions.

As resistance to the apartheid regime intensified from the 1950's onwards, the South African government implemented legislation giving the state wide powers to detain, arrest, imprison and ban its opponents. Successive states of emergency were proclaimed during the 1980's. In 1990, the government began to negotiate with its opponents, a process that resulted in the Interim Constitution Act 200 of 1993 (http://www.gov.za/constitution/1993/1993cons.htm). Democratic elections were held in 1994, and Nelson Mandela elected as President. In 1997, the final Constitution, Act 108 of 1996 (http://www.gov.za/constitution/1996/96cons.htm), came into effect. South Africa is a constitutional state, with a supreme constitution and a Bill of Rights.

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Structure of the State

The South African Constitution Act 108 of 1996 (http://www.gov.za/constitution/1996/96cons.htm) provides for the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial arms of government. The Constitution has elements of federalism, and the nine provinces (Eastern Cape; Free State, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Northern Province, North West and the Western Cape) may pass laws on certain matters such as education, health and housing. However, the national legislature retains its legislative power in these areas, and may override provincial legislation in the event of a conflict. Exclusive provincial legislative competence is reserved for less important matters such as abattoirs and liquor licenses. The provinces have a role in drafting national legislation through their participation in the National Council of Provinces, the second house of Parliament.

Legislative and Executive Branches

The National Parliament is bicameral and consists of:

  • the National Assembly, elected for a 5 year term according to a system of proportional representation, and comprising between 350 and 400 members, and
  • the National Council of Provinces, with ten representatives from each province, who vote as a block.

The National Assembly’s Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, and the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committees oversee the work of the executive organs within the sphere of their portfolios and discuss proposed bills in these areas.

The President is the Head of State and governs with a Cabinet comprising Ministers and Deputy Ministers who head the various national government departments. Each province is headed by a Premier and an Executive Council. Provided they have the capacity to do so, provinces may establish executive departments for public administration. Thus provinces may establish provincial departments of Education, Health, etc.

National bills usually emanate from government departments, and may result from previous consultation through the publishing of green papers (discussion documents) and white papers (cabinet approved policy documents). Draft bills may be published for comment in the Government Gazette, but bills are published as a separate series, undergoing several amendments as a result of discussion in the portfolio committee or select committee before final adoption.

When a bill has been passed by both houses of Parliament it goes before the State President for assent and is then published in the Government Gazette as an Act. Sometimes, a commencement date is proclaimed separately by the President, also by notice in the Gazette. Specific regulations in terms of the various acts are drawn up by the ministries concerned, and published in the Government Gazette.

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Sources of Legislation

In Print

Acts of Parliament are initially published in the official Government Gazette. They are also republished commercially in consolidated (‘as amended’) form by the major South African legal publishers, Butterworths SA and Juta Law.

Government Gazette

The official version of an Act of Parliament is published in the Government Gazette. The Gazette is usually the only printed source of regulations – subordinate legislation issued by government ministers in terms of enabling statutes. Draft bills are occasionally published in the Gazette, but bills are issued as a separate series and obtainable from the Government printer. The Gazette also includes proclamations, government notices, commencement dates of statutes, price regulation measures and industrial regulations.

Butterworths Statutes

This is a loose-leaf publication of consolidated acts, kept by up-to-date by annual supplements. The set is arranged into subject ‘titles’ (e.g., ‘agriculture’, ‘labour’, ‘water’, etc.) Within each ‘title’ the acts are arranged chronologically.

The index volume (vol.1) contains both an alphabetical and a chronological table of statutes. The chronological index also lists repealed acts, with details of the repealing legislation. Indexes at the end of each ‘title’ include: a subject-matter index to recent legislation, and a section with references to decided cases which give judicial consideration to the statute concerned.

Although the full text of regulations is not reproduced in this work, there is a section containing references to regulations passed in terms of the acts. These references include the regulation gazette or the government notice number, the Government Gazette number and date of publication.

Juta Law Statutes

Juta Law publishes an annual edition of its seven-volume set of consolidated statutes. Juta Law classifies the acts into 18 groups and 105 subgroups according to their subject matter. The full text of principal acts is given, but amending acts appear in abbreviated form, because the amendments will have been incorporated into the relevant principal acts. Substantive provisions in amending acts are reproduced in full.

The index volume provides alphabetical and chronological tables of statutes and an alphabetical index to groups and subgroups. Other indexes include ‘Legislation Judicially Considered’, which lists leading cases on particular sections of the statutes; and an index to regulations passed in terms of the various acts, providing the Government Gazette numbers where regulations may be found.

Butterworths Legislation Service

Butterworths publishes selected acts as part of its Butterworths Legislation Service. This service is aimed at legal practitioners, and the acts selected tend to be those which are used in everyday legal practice and which change frequently e.g. the Magistrates Court Act, the Supreme Court Act and the Criminal Procedure Act.  This loose-leaf service is updated quarterly, and is thus reasonably up-to-date. Unlike the main Butterworths set of statutes, these works reproduce the full text of the regulations and rules made in terms of the acts.

Other Legislation Services

There are several other loose-leaf services to specific acts, often published under the name of an individual editor. These works include both the principal acts and the regulations made in terms of these acts, and regulations are thus more easily accessible. There is usually editorial commentary discussing the statutory material.

Notable examples are:

  • Thompson and Benjamin – South African Labour Law Cape Town: Juta Law, 1994

  • Malan and Oelofse – South African Banking Legislation Cape Town: Juta Law, 1991

  • Schaefer – Family Law Service Durban: Butterworths, 1987

  • Dean – Handbook of South African copyright law Cape Town: Juta Law, 1987

  • Henochsberg on the Companies Act Durban: Butterworths, 1987

  • Companies Act 61 of 1973 and Close Corporations Act 69 of 1984 with regulations, tables of cases and indexes. -- Cape Town: Juta, 2000.

  • Davis – Juta's income tax. – Cape Town: Juta 1999

Online

Juta Law and Butterworths Products

The Butterworths and Juta Law products discussed above, are available in electronic form, and may be purchased either as stand-alone or networked CD-ROMs, or may be accessed from the publishers’ on-line services. The electronic versions of the South African Statutes products are substantially similar to the print versions, including all indexes, and may thus be used in the same way. However, the electronic versions also allow a range of keyword searching options. If the library subscribes to additional products such as the on-line law reports, indexes such as ‘legislation judicially considered’ will link directly to the full text of the cases concerned.

Both publishers produce ‘libraries’ on particular topics, for example Constitutional law, Labour law, Company law, etc. These electronic libraries typically include relevant statutes, case law and commentaries, and some include journal articles, full text electronic textbooks, and regulations.

Government Gazette online

SABINET, a subscription service, has a searchable version of the Government Gazette in full text since 1994 at http://aclib.sabinet.co.za/

Free Sites Available on the Internet

Unwembi’s Resource of South African Government Information http://www.polity.org.za/>http://www.polity.org.za/ isa privately run site, providing a wealth of government information.  The site includes the full text of legislation Bills and Acts) from 1993 onwards, and also provides the full text of: White Papers; Commission reports; Discussion Documents; Green Papers; Notices and Regulations ; Policy Documents; Press Statements; Proclamations; Reports; and; Speeches. In addition, the site provides links to the South African Parliament site, various Government Departments and other statutory bodies.

The official website of the Parliament of South Africa (http://www.parliament.gov.za/) provides full text of Acts passed from 1993 onwards, and the full text of bills from 1995 onwards. The site also provides background information on the legislative process.

The official website of the South African Government (http://www.gov.za/) provides full text of Acts passed from 1993 onwards, and the full text of bills from 1996 onwards. The full text of many regulations is also reproduced here. The site also provides useful background information on various aspects of the South African governmental structure and process.

The Parliamentary Monitoring Group site: (http://www.pmg.org.za/) tracks the activities of Parliament and the Parliamentary Select Committees, and follows the progress of discussion papers, white papers, and bills (i.e., it provides background information on the legislative process).

Full text of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 108 of 1996 is available at (http://www.gov.za/constitution/1996/96cons.htm)

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Treaties

South African treaties are not easy to find in full text form. The Department of Foreign Affairs provides some information about both bilateral and multilateral treaties signed by South Africa on its website at http://www.dfa.gov.za/for-relations/index.html. It does not provide the full text of the agreements, but does provide a summary of their main provisions and gives useful background and policy information. The site is not comprehensive. A private site, the South African Cyber Treaty Series, (at http://home.earthlink.net/~apronto/treaties/trindex.htm) lists the multilateral treaties signed by South Africa and provides ratification information.  Where possible, the site links to full text versions available on the Internet. The site does not cover bilateral agreements. This treaty series is based primarily on the United Nations Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General, and is arranged according to the categories found in the United Nations Treaty Series. It includes several additional topics for which the United Nations does not act as depository, such as intellectual property and civil aviation.

Judiciary

The Cape Supreme Court was established in Cape Town in 1828. When circuits round the Cape Colony became too arduous, divisions of the Court were established in the Eastern Cape and in the Northern Cape (then known as Griqualand West). The Natal Supreme Court was established in 1857. The first High Court of Justice was set up in the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek in 1877, while the Orange Free State instituted a High Court in 1854.

Following the Union of South Africa in 1910, a new Supreme Court of South Africa was formed, with provincial and local divisions in all four provinces. A new Appellate Division in Bloemfontein heard appeals from the other divisions of the Supreme Court and set precedent which was binding country-wide. The ‘independent states’ created during the apartheid era established superior courts in their territories. In terms of the new Constitution, the existing provincial and local divisions of the erstwhile ‘Supreme Court’ (including the courts in the TBVC states) were renamed High Courts, and the Appellate Division was re-established as the Supreme Court of Appeal. A new superior court, the ‘Constitutional Court’ was established to decide matters based on Constitutional provisions. Other superior courts, created in terms of separate legislation, include the Land Claims Court and the Labour Appeal Court.  In addition to these superior courts, district and regional magistrates courts hear minor civil and criminal matters. Decisions of lower courts are not reported. The Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration attempts to settle employment disputes. Until 1950, the English Privy Council was the highest court of appeal in the South African judicial system.

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Published Decisions of South African Courts in Print Form

A number of nominate law reports cover the earliest South African cases, with the Cape cases dating back to 1828. Prior to Union in 1910, law reports were published for each of the High Courts in the Cape Colony; Natal, Orange Free State and Transvaal. From 1910 onwards, decisions of the Appellate Division were also reported. Juta, South Africa oldest legal publisher, has published law reports since the mid-nineteenth century. In 1947, Juta began publishing the (amalgamated) South African Law Reports (SALR), which include leading judgments from all the South African superior courts as well as selected judgments from Zimbabwe and Namibia. Specialised law reports series from Juta include the Industrial Law Journal (since 1980), and the South African Criminal Law Reports (since 1990). The other major South African legal publisher, Butterworths, launched several series of law reports in the 1990’s. These include: Butterworths Constitutional Law Reports; Butterworths Labour Law Reports; and the All South African Law Reports (All SA), which are modelled on the All England Law Reports and include leading judgments from South African courts on all areas of law. All SA replaces the Prentice Hall Weekly Law Reports, which were published from 1923 to 1995. Appeals from South African courts heard by the English Privy Council were reported in the English Appeal Court (AC) cases, which contain some important South African appeals.

Printed Indexes to South African Law

Butterworths Consolidated Index and Noter-Up to the South African Law Reports contains tables of cases; a ‘noter-up’ (which is similar to the American Shepards, and provides information on the subsequent history of points of law set down in a case); a section indexing judicial interpretation of legal ‘words and phrases’; an index of legislation which has been considered by the courts; and a subject index.

Juta Law’s Index and Annotations to the South African Law Reports

There are 4 volumes in this set to date. Each volume contains a consolidation of the index published in the quarterly volumes of the South African Law Reports from 1980-86 (Vol. I), 1987-1990 (Vol. II), 1993-1998 (Vol. III), and 1999-2001 (Vol. IV). 

All the volumes contain a Table of Cases listing all the cases reported in the South African Law Reports for the period covered; a section on Case Annotations for local and foreign cases which outlines the nature and extent of the consideration given to previously decided cases; a section on ‘Legislation Considered’ by the courts; and an alphabetical Subject Index of Cases reported in the South African Law Reports.

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Online Access to South African Law

Commercial products

Both Juta Law and Butterworths produce electronic versions of the printed law reports outlined above. These are available either as CD-ROM products, or on-line from the publishers’ websites. The Butterworths Consolidated Index and Noter-up is also available in electronic form, while Juta Law’s Index and Annotations is included in its CD or on-line versions of the SALR. At present, this index is available free on-line from the JutaStat website at (http://www.jutastat.com/).  The ‘electronic libraries’ produced by each publisher (discussed above) include relevant case law.

Free Case Law Online 

Several South African courts make their judgments available on the Internet at no charge. These include:

South African Constitutional Court cases (1995 onwards) at http://www.concourt.gov.za; the Supreme Court of Appeal (from 1999) at  http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/scrtappeal/scaindex.html ; the Land Claims Court (from 1996) at http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/lcc/ and the Labour Appeal Court (from 1998) at http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/labourcrt/index.html. Unlike sites like the British Bailii, the sites offering free access to South African case law do not include a specialised search facility, and there is no subject access. Cases may be found by browsing chronological and alphabetical indexes.

South African Legal Journals

The leading South African legal periodical is the South African Law Journal (SALJ), which is one of the oldest law journals currently published in English (Volume 119 in 2002). Volumes 1 – 17 (1884-1900) were published under the title Cape Law Journal. Other important South African law journals include Acta Juridica, Comparative and International Law Journal of South Africa (CILSA); De Jure; Industrial Law Journal (ILJ); the South African Journal on Human Rights (SAJHR); South African Mercantile Law Journal (SAMLJ); the South African Yearbook of International Law (SAYIL); the Tydskrif vir Suid Afrikaanse Reg (TSAR); the Tydskrif vir Hedendaagse Romeins-Hollandse Reg (THRHR). The professional journals include Advocate (formally Consultus) which is the South African Bar Journal; and De Rebus  the South African Attorney’s Journal. A list of Southern African law journals currently in publication, can be found at http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/lawlibrary/sajnls.htm.

HW WILSON’s Index to Foreign Legal Periodicals indexes most of the core law journals listed above. All South African legal journals are indexed by the Index to South African Periodicals, which is commercially available through SABINET (http://www.sabinet.co.za/) or through Bibioline/Nisc’s Southern African Studies database (http://www.nisc.com/)

Very few South African legal journals are available in full text on-line. Exceptions are the attorney’s journal De Rebus available free at (http://www.derebus.org.za/) from 1998 onwards, the Industrial Law Journal (1985+) available from Juta Law as part of its subscription to the Labour Law Library and the South African Journal on Human Rights (1985+) available from Juta Law as part of its subscription to the Constitutional Library. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, which publishes the SAJHR, has made SAJHR content pages available from 1995 at (http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/sajhr/sajhr.html).

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Reference Works

Dictionaries

South Africa has a fairly comprehensive range of legal dictionaries which are useful for the explanation, translation, and judicial interpretation of legal words and phrases.

  • Bell’s South African legal dictionary.

  • Claassen  - Dictionary of legal words and phrases 2nd ed

  • Ferreira - South African legal abbreviations

  • Sisson - The South African Judicial dictionary

  • Hiemstra’s Engelse-Afrikaanse regswoordeboek

  • Hiemstra and Gonin (eds) - Trilingual legal dictionary (English-Afrikaans-Latin) 3rd ed

Encyclopaedia and Current Awareness Service

The Law of South Africa (LAWSA) is a multi-volume legal encyclopaedia.  A revised edition is in progress. This work provides a general overview of South African Law, organised by subject. Each subject entry is written by an authority in the field and provides a concise explanation of the applicable law with multiple references to relevant cases and legislation. Tables of statutes, cases and indexes to each title are also provided. The set is updated through annual cumulative supplements, but should be used together with its companion service Current Law to ensure that the most recent legal developments are taken into account.

Current Law, the companion service to LAWSA, consists of 12 review parts per year noting the most recent legal developments. This reference source must be used in conjunction with LAWSA, and this is facilitated by use of the same subject headings that appear in the main work. The new developments may be government notices, Parliamentary bills, regulations, or pertinent decided cases. Relevant periodical articles are also noted. Additional useful features include: commencement dates of statutes, giving the authoritative Government Gazette number; a table of cases; a table of statutes and regulations; lists of commissions of enquiry; a section on South African law books published during the current year; and a cumulative list of research projects arranged by subject.

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A Selection of Introductory Textbooks

Introduction to South African law

Du Plessis, Lourens M.  An introduction to law. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1999.

Edwards, Basil Introduction to South African law and legal theory, 2nd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1995.

Hahlo, H. R. and Ellison Kahn The South African legal system and its background. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1968.

Hahlo, H. R. The Union of South Africa: the development of its laws and constitution. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1960.

Bankruptcy

Smith, Catherine Harriet The law of insolvency. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1988. 

Hockly, Harold Edward  Hockly's insolvency law. 6th ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1996.

Commercial and Company Law

Beuthin, R. C. and S.M. Luiz  Beuthin's Basic company law. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2000.

Cilliers, Hendrik and Marius Benade (ed.) Corporate law. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2000.

Companies Act 61 of 1973 and Close Corporations Act 69 of 1984 with regulations, tables of cases and indexes. 6th ed. --  Cape Town: Juta, 2000.

Gibson, J. T. R. assisted by R.G. Comrie South African mercantile and company law. 7th ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1997

Gordon, Gerald Gordon and Getz on the South African law of insurance. 4th ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1993.

Conflict of Laws

Forsyth, C. F  Private international law: the modern Roman-Dutch law including the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. 3rd ed. --  Cape Town: Juta, 1996.

Constitutional Law, Administrative Law and Human Rights Law

Amien, Waheeda and Paul Farlam (eds.) Basic human rights documents for South Africans. -- Cape Town: Law, Race and Gender Research Unit, University of Cape Town, 1998.

Baxter, Lawrence. Administrative law. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1984.

Bill of Rights compendium. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1996 – (loose-leaf updates)

Burns, Yvonne. Administrative law under the 1996 constitution. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1998.

Chaskalson, Matthew... (et al.) Constitutional law of South Africa  -- Cape Town: Juta, 1996 – (loose-leaf updates)

Currie Iain, Johan de Waal (eds.) The New constitutional and administrative law  – Cape Town: Juta, 2001.

Davis, Dennis. Fundamental rights in the Constitution : commentary and cases. – Cape Town: Juta, 1997.

Devenish, G. E,  K. Govender, D.H. Hulme  Administrative law and justice in South Africa. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2001.

Devenish, G. E. A commentary on the South African Bill of Rights.  -- Durban: Butterworths, 1999.

De Waal, Johan, Iain Currie, Gerhard Erasmus The Bill of Rights handbook. 4th ed.– Cape Town: Juta, 2001. 

Rautenbach, I.M. and E.F.J. Malherbe  Constitutional law. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Juta, 1999.

Contract

Christie, R. H. The law of contract in South Africa. 4th ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2001.

Van der Merwe, Schalk... (et al.). Contract : general principles -- Cape Town: Juta, 1993.

Criminal law

Burchell, Jonathan M. and John Milton Principles of criminal law. 2nd ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1997.

Snyman, C. R. Criminal law. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1995.

Customary Law

Bennett, T. W. Human rights and African customary law : under the South African Constitution. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1995.

Bennett, T. W. A sourcebook of African customary law for Southern Africa . -- Cape Town: Juta, 1991.

Delict

Burchell, Jonathan M.  Principles of delict. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1993.

Neethling, Johann, J.M. Potgieter (and) P.J. Visser. Law of delict 4th ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1999.

Environmental law

Glazewski, Jan.  Environmental law in South Africa. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2000.

Evidence

Schwikkard, Pamela Jane, A. St. Q. Skeen, S.E. van der Merwe, Principles of evidence. – Cape Town: Juta, 1997.

 Family and Persons

Boberg, P. Q. R.  Boberg's law of persons and the family. 2nd ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1999.

Cronje, D. S. P., Jacqueline Heaton  South African family. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1999.

Cronje, D. S. P., Jacqueline Heaton The South African law of persons. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1999.

Davel, C.J (ed.) Introduction to child law in South Africa. – Cape Town: Juta Law, 2000.

Sinclair, June The Law of Marriage. - Cape Town: Juta, 1996.

Inheritance and Succession

Corbett, M. M (Michael McGregor) The law of succession in South Africa / by M.M. Corbett, H.R. Hahlo, Gys Hofmeyr; with an appendix on the conflict of laws by Ellison Kahn; general editor, H.R. Hahlo. – 2nd ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 2002.

De Waal, M. J. , M.C. Schoeman, N.J. Wiechers, Law of succession: students' handbook. 2nd ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1996.

Davis, Dennis. Estate planning.-- Durban: Butterworths, 1989 – (loose-leaf updates)

Intellectual Property

Burrell, Timothy D. Burrell's South African patent and design law. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1999.

Dean, O. H. Handbook of South African copyright law. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1987 – (loose-leaf updates)

Webster, Geoffrey Charles and N.S. Page. South African law of trade marks, unlawful competition, company names and trading styles.  4th ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1997 – (loose-leaf updates)

International law

Dugard, John  International law : a South African perspective. 2nd ed. -- Cape Town: Juta, 2000.

Labour law

Basson, Annali ... (et al.) Essential labour law. 2nd ed. -- Groenkloof: Labour Law Publications, 2000.

Brassey, Martin. Employment and labour law. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1998 – (loose-leaf updates)

Du Toit, Darcy (et al.) (eds.) Labour relations law : a comprehensive guide. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2000.

Grogan, John. Workplace law. 6th ed.-- Cape Town: Juta Law, 2001.

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Legal History

Hahlo, H. R. and Ellison Kahn The South African legal system and its background. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1968.

Hahlo, H. R. The Union of South Africa: the development of its laws and constitution. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1960.

Thomas, Ph. J. , C.G. van der Merwe and B.C. Stoop The historical foundations of South African private law , by Ph.J. Thomas. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1998.

Zimmermann, Reinhard and Daniel Visser (eds.) Southern Cross: civil law and common law in South Africa. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1996.

Maritime and Shipping Law

Hare, John E.  Shipping law & admirality jurisdiction in South Africa. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1999.

Property Law

Carey Miller, D. L. Miller with Anne Pope  Land title in South. -- Cape Town: Juta, 2000.

Kahn, E. (et al) Principles of the law of sale and lease. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1998

Silberberg, Harry  Silberberg and Schoeman's The law of property. 3rd ed. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1992.

Van der Merwe, C. G. , M.J. de Waal.  The law of things and servitudes. -- Durban: Butterworths, 1993.

Taxation

Davis, Dennis.  Lynette Olivier, Gavin Urquhart, Juta's income tax. -- Cape Town: Juta, 1999 – (loose-leaf updates)

Meyerowitz on Income Tax . -- Cape Town: The Taxpayer, 1999 – (loose-leaf updates)

Silke, Aubrey S.  Income Tax Act no. 58 of 1962: updated to include the residence basis of taxation. -- Durban: Butterworths, 2002.

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A Selection of Useful Websites for South African Legal Research

Government and Legislation:

Unwembi’s Resource of South African Government Information (http://www.polity.org.za/ ) is a privately run free site, providing a wealth of government information. The site includes the full text of legislation (Bills and Acts) from 1993 onwards, and also provides the full text of: White Papers; Commission reports; Discussion Documents; Green Papers: Notices and Regulations; Policy Documents; Press Statements; Proclamations; Reports; and Speeches. In addition, the site provides links to the South African Parliament site, various Government Departments and other statutory bodies.

The official website of the Parliament of South Africa (http://www.parliament.gov.za/) provides full text of Acts passed from 1993 onwards, and the full text of bills from 1995 onwards. The site also provides background information on the legislative process

The official website of the South African Government, http://www.gov.za/, provides full text of Acts passed from 1993 onwards, and the full text of bills from 1996 onwards. The full text of many regulations is also reproduced here. The site also provides useful background information on various aspects of the South African governmental structure and process.

The Parliamentary Monitoring Group site: http://www.pmg.org.za/ tracks the activities of Parliament and the Parliamentary Select Committees, and follows the progress of discussion papers, white papers, and bills (i.e. it provides background information on the legislative process)

SABINET (http://www.sabinet.co.za/), a subscription service, has a searchable version of the Government Gazette in full text since 1994, which includes the full text of Acts, regulations and white papers as well as other government information

Subscription databases providing the full text of South African legalisation are available from Juta Law (http://www.juta.co.za/jutalaw/index.htm) and Butterworths (http://www.butterworths.co.za/)

Courts and Judgments

Several South African courts make their judgments available on the Internet at no charge. These include:

South African Constitutional Court  (cases from1995 onwards) (http://www.concourt.gov.za)

Supreme Court of Appeal  (cases from 1999 onwards) (http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/sca/)

Land Claims Court  (cases from 1996 onwards) (http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/lcc/)

Labour Appeal Court (cases from 1998 onwards) (http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/labourcrt/index.html)

Unlike sites like the British Bailii, the sites offering free access to South African case law do not include a specialised search facility, and there is no subject access. Cases may be found by browsing chronological and alphabetical indexes.

Subscription databases including the full text of South African case law are available from Juta Law (http://www.juta.co.za/jutalaw/index.htm) and Butterworths (http://www.butterworths.co.za/). The Juta Index to the SALR is currently available free from the JutaStat website at (http://www.jutastat.com/).

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South African Law Schools and Law Libraries

Potchefstroomse Universiteit Faculty of Law (http://www.puk.ac.za/fakulteite/regte.html) and E-Law Library (http://www.puk.ac.za/fpbskole/fpbregte/fpbregte.html).

Rand Afrikaans University Faculty of Law (http://general.rau.ac.za/law/index.htm).

Rhodes University Faculty of Law (http://www.ru.ac.za/academic/faculties/law/) and Law Library (http://www.ru.ac.za/academic/faculties/law/index.php3?body=resources/resources_index.html).

University of Cape Town Faculty of Law (http://www.uct.ac.za/law/) and Law Library  (http://www.lib.uct.ac.za/law/).

University of the Free State Faculty of Law (http://www.uovs.ac.za/faculties/Law/).

University of Natal School of Law (http://www.nu.ac.za/ug/extra.asp?id=6) and Law Library (http://www.library.und.ac.za/law.htm )

University of Pretoria Faculty of Law (http://www.up.ac.za/academic/law/index.htm) and Law Library(http://www.up.ac.za/asservices/ais/law/law.htm)

University of South Africa Faculty of Law (http://www.unisa.ac.za/faculty/law/) and Library (http://www.unisa.ac.za/library/index.html).

University of Stellenbosch Faculty of Law (http://www.sun.ac.za/law/) and Library (http://www.sun.ac.za/library/).

University of the Western Cape Faculty of Law (http://www.uwc.ac.za/academic/indexr.htm).

University of the Witwatersrand Law School (http://www.law.wits.ac.za/) and Law Library (http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/lawlibrary/lawlibrary.htm). The Wits site hosts the reported judgments of the South African Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of Appeal.

Legal Publishers

There are two major legal publishers in South Africa, Butterworths and Juta Law, both of which publish in print and electronic form.

Butterworths, http://www.butterworths.co.za/

Juta, http://www.juta.co.za/

Miscellaneous

The South African Law Commission (http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/salc/salc.html) provides full text access to its discussion papers and reports

The South African Human Rights Commission (http://www.sahrc.org.za/) was established by the Human Rights Commission Act of 1994 with the objective of building democracy and a human rights culture in South Africa. Various of its publications are available in full text on line.

Law Society of South Africa, http://www.lssa.org.za/ is the umbrella body of the attorneys' profession in South Africa.

Legalnet (http://www.legalnet.co.za/) is primarily a fee-based information service, aimed at legal professionals. However, a certain amount of current awareness material is available for free. Includes a link to De Rebus, the professional journal of South African attorneys.

Organisation of South African Law Libraries (OSALL) (http://sunsite.wits.ac.za/osall/).

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Citation

There is no official method of legal citation in South Africa. Editors tend to have their own house-style.

In general, however, an act is cited by Name of the Act, Act no. and year, followed by individual sections of the act if necessary: e.g., Castle Management Act 207 of 1993 s.19.

Cases are cited in the form used by the publisher. This will usually be: Names of the Parties; the year of the law report in which the case was published; the volume number of the report; an abbreviation indicating the report series; the page number on which the case begins; and an abbreviation indicating the court which delivered the judgment.

Thus:

Worman v Jones 1968 (4) SA 762 (C) at 768 refers to a case reported in the South African Law Reports volume number 1968 (4), heard in the Cape High Court, and specifically cites page 768.

Pillans v Jooste (1999) 1 All SA 367 (A) at 372 refers to a case reported in the All South African Law reports volume number 1999 (1), heard in the Supreme Court of Appeal, and specifically cites page 372. It should be noted that while Butterworths, the publisher of All SA, uses (A) as the symbol for this court, Juta Law, the publishers of the SALR, now uses SCA (but also used (A) for the pre-1994 Appellate Division of the Supreme Court).

There is a growing tendency for courts to number the paragraphs of their judgments,

For more information about citation conventions, see the house-style sheet for the South African Journal on Human Rights at http://wwwserver.law.wits.ac.za/sajhr/housestyle.html, which is a typical example of South African law journals’ citation requirements. See also the link to ‘citation formats’ from http://www.lib.uct.ac.za/law/ which details requirements for assignments submitted to the University of Cape Town’s Law Faculty, which are based on the South African Law Journal house-style.

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