The MISSION of the department is to practice, promote, and teach constitutional-based jurisprudence. "We teach and cultivate the constitutional values underlying the jurisprudential system."


Within the broader context of the Faculty of Law’s vision to be a university of excellence, equity, and innovation, the department strives:

  • To continually maintain and improve the recognition and acknowledgement afforded to the quality of its activities and the achievements of its students and staff, both nationally and internationally.
  • To continually maintain a national and regional perspective in its activities.
  • To contribute, within the department’s context, towards the rebuilding and development of the entire community.


The arrival of democracy in 1994 and the acceptance of a final Constitution in 1996 proclaimed the entrenchment of democracy in South Africa. A completely new government management system, aimed at the transformation of South Africa through the attainment of equality and the exercising of democratic values, was securely entrenched. As a result, the legal system was obliged to adjust to this transformation and to cooperate in the effective development of this transformation.

Against this background, the University of the Free State (UFS) Department of Constitutional Law and Legal Philosophy provides a specialised approach to teaching and research on legal matters that are related to the impact of the Constitution of South Africa on the law.

The department has a proud record of excellence in terms of teaching and research. Areas of expertise include: International Law, Human Rights Law, Health and Ethics, Equal Employment, Children’s Rights, Women’s Human Rights, Environmental Rights, Mining Law, Legal Philosophy, and Administrative Law. The Department of Constitutional Law and Legal Philosophy intends to continue its contribution to the law against the background of a truly democratic South Africa. The department teaches the various philosophies underlying the law, and in so doing, provides insight into the law and into a variety of other ethical questions.


Prof SA de Freitas: [BProc, LLB, LLM (cum Laude] (UFS)] teaches Constitutional Law, Human Rights Theory, Philosophy of Law, and Public International Law. His area of expertise is Religious Rights and Freedoms.

Prof JL Pretorius: [BCom, LLB, BA (Hons), LLD (UFS), Advocate of the High Court of South Africa] 

Mr A Nell: [LLB (summa cum laude), BAHons (Latin) (summa cum laude), LLM (cum laude] Mr Nell won the Dean's Medals as the best student in each of his respective degrees. For the BAHons, he also received the Senate's Medal. Mr Nell has lectured Latin on first-, second- and third-year level during 2010-2012 when he was a junior lecturer in the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the UFS. He is currently a lecturer in the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law and lectures Philosophy of Law. Apart from Latin and Philosophy of Law, his areas of research include International Humanitarian Law (IHL), International Criminal Law (ICL), and Statutory Interpretation. Mr Nell is currently completing his LLD on International Humanitarian Law.

Ms Georgia du Plessis: [LLB (cum laude), LLM (cum laude)] is a lecturer who has lectured International Law, Constitutional Law, Administrative Law, and Interpretation of Statutes. Ms du Plessis is currently completing her LLD on matters concerning public education, religion and state, and published several scholarly articles, nationally and internationally. She is also a Fellow of the Blackstone Legal Scholarship in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, and the Assistant Editor of the IBSS-accredited Journal for Juridical Science. Her areas of expertise include: international law, human rights (religion and state, freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and the right to live), administrative law and interpretation of statutes.

Adv M Marais: [BA LLB (US), LLM (cum laude) UFS], teaches Public Law part time. 


T: +27 51 401 2451
F: + 27 51 401 3043


Equitas Building
UFS Bloemfontein Campus

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