Prof Karin Van MarleProf Karin Van Marle

Karin van Marle joined the Department of Public Law, University of the Free State in February 2019.  Before joining the UFS she worked as professor in the Department of Jurisprudence, University of Pretoria for 20 years where she taught Jurisprudence on undergraduate and postgraduate levels. 19 Doctoral, 14 Research Masters and numerous Masters mini-dissertation students have completed their studies under her supervision. She currently supervises a number of postgraduate students working in the field of critical jurisprudence, law and transformation and feminist theory.

Van Marle holds the degrees BLC (UP, 1991), LLB (UP, 1993), LLM (UNISA, 1996) and LLD (UNISA, 2000).

Her research falls within the broad field of law and the humanities and involves critical theory, legal philosophy and jurisprudence. Her work on post-1994 jurisprudence engages with the crisis of modernity and a rethinking of law and legal theory along the lines of fragility, finitude and a ‘giving up of certitudes’. She is an ethical feminist and her research and writing are inspired by and embedded in feminist theory.

She has published widely in national and international journals and books. She serves on the international editorial boards of Law and Critique, Feminist Legal Studies and the international advisory board of Legalities Journal. She is an adjunct professor at Southern Cross University, Australia and is Fellow at Stias (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study)

Recent publications

  • ‘Ubuntu-feminism – Tentative reflections’ (with D Cornell) (2015) Verbum et Ecclesia
  • ‘Post-1994 jurisprudence and its coming of age stories’ (2015) No foundations
  • ‘Mandela in/ and Pretoria’ Image and text (2015)
  • ‘Thought as condition for a healthy society’ (2015) Journal for the Humanities
  • ‘ ‘Welcoming’other ways of being and knowing’ (2017) Feminists@law
  • ‘The complicity of language, knowledge and justice’ (2017) Acta Academica
  • ‘Modernities and the making of worlds’ (2018) Law and Literature 11-27
  • ‘Life is not simply fact: Aesthetics, atmosphere and the neolibeal university’ (2018)  Law and critique 293-310
  • ‘A ‘right” to the university” (2019) Acta Academica 110-125
  • ‘Hold on to critical jurisprudence’ (2019) Law, Democracy and Development
  • ‘ “Africans should tell the African story”: The African woman judge and storytelling’ (2019) Journal of Law and Society
  • ‘‘An aesthetic mode of coping’ –‘authorship’, ‘narration’, ‘monument’ and ‘memorial’ in post-apartheid jurisprudence’ in (2015) De Ville (ed) Memory and meaning: Lourens du Plessis and the haunting of justice  Cape Town: Juta
  • ‘Counter-archive as staging dissensus’ in Motha and Van Rijswijk (eds) (2016) Law, violence, memory. Uncovering the counter-archive London: Routledge
  • ‘Jurisprudence after the TRC’ in Swart and Van Marle (eds) (2017) The limits of transition: The South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission 20 years on Leiden: Brill/ Nijhoff
  • ‘A jurisprudence of responsibility’ in Sheikh and Orlow (eds) (2018) Theatrum Botanicum Berlin/New York: Sternberg Press
Edited collection
  • The limits of transition. The South African TRC: 20 years on (co-editor with Mia Swart) (2017) Brill/ Nijhoff

The Department of Public Law represents an amalgamation of the faculty’s previous three departments of Criminal and Medical Law, Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, as well as Law of Procedure and Law of Evidence.

As of 1 January 2015, the Department of Public Law is responsible for teaching in excess of 50% of the LLB-degree modules at UFS. These include foundational, practice-orientated, formal, and substantive law modules. The postgraduate and research expertise within the department ranges on a wide front, including, among other things, legal forensics, human trafficking, educational law, medical law, constitutional law, human rights law, international law, international criminal law, international humanitarian law, and environmental law against the background of skills modules such as community engagement and advocacy.

The department’s mission in teaching is to deliver graduates that will be professionally versed in the demands of the many fields of legal practice, including the demands for lifelong scholarship and responsible citizenship. In research, the department strives to contribute towards the development of the legal science consonant within the demands of the constantly transforming national and international environment. The department is inextricably guided by the values contained in the South African Constitution.

Contact Us

Head of Department

Prof Shaun De Freitas
T: +27 51 401 3004


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


Equitas Building
UFS Bloemfontein Campus

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