BACKGROUNDFort Hare produced its first LLB graduate at a very early stage when it was still preparing students for degreesat the University of South Africa. That graduate was Z.K. Matthews later became a Professor and Acting Principalof the then University College of Fort Hare. Before 1961, certain law subjects were taught in the Facultyof Arts. The Faculty of Law was later established in 1961, and Prof D. Pont, LLB (SA) LLD (Utrecht), formerDean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria and first editor of the Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law, was appointed as the first Dean.

In addition to the BA Law offered in the Faculty of Arts, the LLB degree, Attorneys’ Admission Certificate, andthe Public Service Law Certificate were the qualifications offered at the time. Initially, the Faculty consisted ofthe Departments of Private Law, Public Law, and Mercantile Law. Later, two other Departments were added,viz. the Department of Constitutional and Public International Law and the Department of African and ComparativeLaw. The Centre for Human Rights” was established in 1994.The Legal Clinic serves the surrounding communities, funded jointly by the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fundand the University of Fort Hare.

In 1997, permission was obtained to rename the Law Faculty after the thenState President, Nelson Rholihlahla Mandela, and the School of Law was formally established under that namein January 2002. Since 2006, the Faculty of Law has been gradually relocating its LLB programme offeringand administration offices from the Alice campus to the East London Campus to implement its InstitutionalOperating Plan. As a result, only a few staff of the Faculty have been retained at the Alice campus to provideservice courses in law to non-law major programmes in other Faculties.

Therefore, all full-time students registeredfor the LLB and the Bcom-Law qualifications study at the East London campus.


In taking up the study of law, one embarks on a challenging yet at the same time one of the oldest and mostrewarding vocations that exist. Legal training is steeped in a long tradition of liberalism. It develops skills in themastering of facts and theory as well as in rational and logical expression. A successful Student will acquirethese qualities and discover them to be significant to their advantage in their leadership role in society. Thelawyer enjoys a status shared by few others and has a wide range of career options to choose from.

They canpractise as legal practitioners, serve within the judiciary as prosecutors, magistrates, or judges, or enter governmentor the business world as legal advisors or senior executives.The LLB is now the only recognised qualification for legal practice. Before the launch of the new LLB in 1998,holders of a B Proc were allowed to enter into the attorneys’ profession, and holders of a B Juris could servein the civil service as magistrates or prosecutors.

The B Proc and B Juris programmes have been phased out.The LLB is now available as a four-year first-degree programme. LLB is also offered to holders of a B Proc, BJuris, BA or any other undergraduate degree.

Students who wish to acquire a broader educational or commercial background are strongly encouraged toconsider registering for a BA or B Com programme first. Credit can be obtained for modules prescribed for theLLB. Alternatively, such Students can register for a B Com (Law) degree with substantial legal content in threeyears and the LLB with another additional two years of study. Candidates holding the LLB may be admitted tothe LLM (by research); LLM: Competition Regulation (coursework and mini-dissertation) or M Phil (HumanRights) or PG Dip (Human Rights) programmes.The Faculty also offers a Doctor of Laws (LLD) programme.