13 Best Law Universities in South Africa in 2023

Are you interested in studying Law in any African country like South Africa? Do you know that some of the best law universities in Africa are in South Africa? This article will discuss the 13 best Law universities in South Africa that offer quality education.

Tertiary education in South Africa

In the post-apartheid era, tertiary education in South Africa has never been more volatile than today, about two decades into democracy. Still, it is, contradictorily, perhaps the part of the entire educational sector that has advanced most in national achievement objectives of quality, equity, and transformation.

Pressures to worsen the lack of funds in the context of tuition growth, and rising student expectations and frustrations regarding access and financial aid, have led to the expansion of the cracks in the system.

About Law Universities in South Africa

South Africa has 17 law Universities, with some of the reputable and best law schools in Africa. Most of these Law Universities in South Africa have been around for a long time, indicating that they have a long-standing heritage that is an invaluable advantage over relatively new schools. This is evident by their positions in various rankings.

According to QS World Rankings by Subject, 5 out of the 6 top-notch Law universities in Africa are in South Africa, which shows the quality of Law Universities in South Africa and the kind of quality training they have to offer. Let us begin to explore the best Law Universities in South Africa.

Where are the Law courses offered in South Africa?

Of the 17 law schools in South Africa, all but one offer LLM postgraduate studies. Some of these LLMs come from research, but the taught LLM courses in South Africa have many LLM subject areas to focus on.

Students can study Business Law, Child Care and Protection Law, Environmental Law, Maritime Law, Medical Law, Private Law, and Public Law.

University of Cape Town

The University of Cape Town (UCT) is the first place to ponder when searching for the best Law Universities in South Africa. It was founded in 1829 and is a public research university in Cape Town in the South African province of the Western Cape.

UCT was founded as South African College, making it the oldest university institute and one of the best law universities in South Africa.

Although the institution’s legal faculty is the smallest, with just under 1,000 students, it has a long history of qualified lawyers maintaining and strengthening an open, free, and democratic continent.

The school has law students from other African countries, such as Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, to name a few.

University Website

University of Witwatersrand

The University of Witwatersrand was founded in 1896 and is a respected institution in South Africa, ranking next in most rankings. This is not different in this subject. Thus, it is known as one of the best Law Universities in South Africa.

This institution, often referred to for short as the University of Wits, has produced four Nobel Prize winners, including the great Nelson Mandela.

The School of Law aims to provide innovative and transformative research while training students to use legal materials effectively. The school is known for its academic excellence, which explains how it has spawned renowned legal figures across the continent.

University Website

Read: Top 10 Best Law Universities in Africa and Their Official contact (READ AND SHARE)

Stellenbosch University

Stellenbosch University is located in the Western Cape Province and is a university with an African root but is globally oriented. In more than 100 years, the institution has been honored with numerous local and international awards for its quality research and teaching standards.

This makes her one of the best Law universities in South Africa.

The Faculty of Law is designed to promote world-class lawyers by providing their students with the knowledge and relevant tools needed to excel in this profession.

It also has one of the largest legal libraries in Africa, which will prove extremely useful to the multicultural student population.

University Website

University of Pretoria

The University of Pretoria (UP), one of the largest and oldest South African colleges (founded in 1908), has consistently made it into the top three African universities in many subjects.

The student population includes nationals from other African countries, while the Faculty of Law is ranked 76 in the 80 best law schools worldwide. It is proud of its recognized leadership in socially relevant legal research and education in South Africa and worldwide.

University Website

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Another South African university on the list of the best Law universities in South Africa is the University of KwaZulu-Natal, formed in 2004 from the merger of Durban-Westville and the University of Natal. It is known for its outstanding achievements in health sciences and law.

The School of Law is one of the largest contact law schools in South Africa, with a strong focus on competence development within the LLB – especially in terms of technical, legal, and general competencies.

University Website

University of the Western Cape

Founded in 1904, the University of the Western Cape has become one of South Africa’s top universities in its rankings. It played an important role in the fight against racial discrimination.

The Faculty of Law is recognized for its commitment to a culture of human rights and constitutionalism and its rigorous and relevant legal education. The university has one of the most diverse student populations in the country.

University Website

University of Johannesburg

The University of Johannesburg is one of the youngest universities in South Africa, just because it was founded in 2005 through a merger. The institution opened its doors the same year and has worked hard to provide impressive academic achievement and worldwide recognition.

This is one of the main reasons why more than 50,000 students study at the university, of which 3,000 are international students. The Faculty of Law is known for its many years of experience recruiting legal experts in specialist areas such as tax law, criminal justice, forensic investigations, bankruptcy law, etc.

University Website

Rhodes University

Rhodes University was founded in 1904 and is the oldest university in the province. It is the fifth or sixth oldest university in South Africa in continuous operation.

In Grahamstown, Eastern Cape, where the nearest facility is located, Rhodes University is another great place to study law in South Africa.

The institution has been awarded one of the country’s best degrees and graduation rates. Students from all over Africa also populate it.

University Website

North-West University

The tenth university on our list of the best law universities in South Africa is the North-West University. The institution, formed in 2004 from the merger of two universities, has a high student population of over 68,000 students, a significant number from other African countries.

The Faculty of Law of the institution is known for its high-quality legal education and targeted research to expand the boundaries of knowledge.

North-West University is one of the best places to study law, as the faculty wants to equip its students with the knowledge, ethics, and skills necessary for a successful legal career.

University Website

Also, see: Top 21 Law Schools In Canada For International Students in 2023

University of the Free State

With a student population of more than 31,000 students, the University of the Free State is internationally renowned for its academic excellence and innovative teaching methods.

The Faculty of Law in Bloemfontein offers a legal education that includes a mixture of theory and experience in legal practice in the lower and upper divisions of the courts.

University Website

University of Fort Hare

It was from 1916 to 1959, one of the leading colleges for black Africans. It offered students from across sub-Saharan Africa western-style academic education, including law, and created an elite of black Africans.

Fort Hare alumni were part of many subsequent independence movements and governments of newly independent African countries.

In 1959, the university was covered by the apartheid system, but today it is part of the public higher education system after apartheid in South Africa. It is known for its remarkable alumni, which include several African heads of state and Nobel laureates.

University Website

Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University

Formed in 2005, Nelson Mandela University (formerly Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, NMMU, formerly the University of Port Elizabeth (UPE)) is among the best law universities in South Africa, with its main administration in the coastal city of Port Elizabeth.

There are over 3,000 international students, including students from the United States, France, China, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and many African countries.

University Website

University of South Africa

As Africa’s leading open-distance education institution, UNISA offers internationally accredited qualifications and has world-class resources that inspire students to create meaningful futures on their terms. It is also one of the best Law Universities in South Africa.

As an African university, UNISA is shaping futures at the service of humanity. Not only does it offer the best training in the study of law, but it also offers quality distance and online learning options for distant and working-class students.

University Website

Cost of Living in South Africa

Living in South Africa can cost an individual about 400 dollars a month which can be used to cover expenses like food, utility bills, accommodation, and travel costs.

Tuition Fees in South Africa

Tuition fees for international students in South Africa are quite cheap and affordable when compared to those in most developed countries. The standard of learning is high class despite the low fees. Depending on currency fluctuations, tuition fees for LLM courses in South Africa are very cheap compared to other law schools worldwide.

The R60,000, which is billed to international LLM students at the University of Cape Town, is one of the highest tuition fees in South Africa. In US dollars, this means about $ 4,500. Comparing this with a law school in the US with a similar ranking, it can be seen that the LLM tuition is reasonable.

Academic  Calendar in South African Universities

Usually, the academic calendar in South Africa consists of two semesters. The first semester starts at the beginning of February, and the second semester starts at the end of July.

Applying for a South African Universities

Applicants or candidates can either apply through the internet or admission agencies. For those interested in applying through the internet, the following steps should be adhered to:

  • Applicants should visit the web portal of the university they have chosen and request an online application form.
  • Applicants should complete the form with the correct information and upload the necessary documents.
  • Once done with the form, applicants should send it to the admission department of the university or send it to the address stated on the form.
  • Once the applicant’s form has been considered, he or she will be sent an offer by airmail or Email.
  • After receiving the offer, applicants should request a visa pack from the school to start processing their visa.
  • At this point, you are ready for your enrollment

How to get Student Visa for South Africa

Before a person is eligible to obtain a student visa to study at a facility in South Africa, that person must have been admitted to a registered school, college, or university in South Africa and have obtained a registration certificate from that institution that is guaranteed admission written the letterhead of the institution and duly signed.

The person is expected to apply for a temporary residence permit, which must be made in their home country, and then present it personally in the South African country in their home country, either at the consulate or at the High Commission.

You are expected to send the following documents;

  • A passport valid for at least 30 days after the end of your course, with two consecutive clear pages for entry and exit stamps.
  • Payment of the South African student visa application.
  • Bi-color photographs the size of a passport.
  • An official letter from the South African educational institution confirming the duration of your course, plus confirmation that you will inform the authorities if you do not register, unsubscribe, or are expelled or when the course is completed or extended.
  • Proof of the finances necessary to cover tuition and living costs during your stay, about ZAR 3,000 per month (bank statements, traveler’s checks, etc.), and a cash deposit to cover the cost of A return ticket.
  • Certificate of coverage for medical assistance or health insurance recognized by the South African authorities, plus a letter confirming that it will be renewed each year for your stay.
  • You may need to ensure that the South African Department of Home Affairs recognizes your medical plan. If you are a student and dependent child of a parent who has a South African visa and medical insurance, you may be covered by your parent’s plan.
  • South African high commissions occasionally accept foreign medical aid and international insurance policies.
  • A certificate of vaccination against yellow fever.
  • Medical and radiological reports for the last six months.
  • Information on where you will live in South Africa.
  • A certificate of police authorization for each country where you have lived for more than 12 months from 18.
  • Birth certificates of dependent children.
  • Relevant certificates if married, widowed, or divorced.

Also, see: 10 Best Law Schools in Virginia | Ranking 2023

It always seems impossible until it’s done -Nelson Mandela (Conclusion)

The field of Law is complex, and it demands the utmost care and commitment. Of course, it is helpful to know that it is one of the careers that pay well, especially in difficult economic conditions, as well as a career that can be used to bring justice to mankind.

Like a great South Africa Lawyer, revolutionary, and hero, Nelson Mandela said, ” It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Applying to study law at one of the best Law Universities in South Africa can give you an edge in the field.

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