Professor Yousuf Vawda
Professor Yousuf Vawda
Senior Research Associate


Professor Yousuf Vawda is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Law. He holds the academic qualifications Bachelors in Arts (BA), Bachelors in Law (BProc), Masters in Law (LLM) and a Doctorate in Law (LLD) which he obtained at UKZN for his doctoral thesis entitled “Access to Life-saving Medication in South Africa: The Case for Legislative Reform”.

He is a qualified attorney admitted in the High Court, South Africa and practised as such from 1978 – 1994 when he took up the position as Director Law Clinic, UDW – a position he held from 1994-2003. In 2003 he took up an academic position in the UKZN School of Law where he has lectured since.

He has been actively involved in community activities for approximately 40 years, providing legal advice and guidance to various community organisations including civic (Durban Housing Action Committee & affiliates), political (Natal Indian Congress & African National Congress), professional bodies (Democratic Lawyers Association & NADEL) and civil society (Treatment Action Campaign & Children’s Rights Centre).

He has held positions on various boards such as: the Board of Directors – Legal Aid South Africa; Council Member of the Medicines Control Council, and Chairperson of its Legal Committee; and is a founding trustee of the Association of University Legal Aid Institutions (AULAI) Trust. He has also served as Member of the Board of the School for Legal Practice, Durban.

His research interests lie in Clinical law & Legal Aid Service delivery as well as Public Health issues, specifically Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines. He has taught modules in Clinical Law, Professional Training, HIV / AIDS Human Rights Law, Bioethics & Law, and Human Rights Intellectual Property & Access to Medicines.

He has acted as consultant and provided technical assistance in several initiatives to reform medicines regulatory systems as well as intellectual property legislation in South Africa, various African countries and the African Union.

Academic Qualifications

  • BA (UDW)
  • BProc (Unisa)
  • LLM (UDW)
  • LLD (UKZN)

Professional Qualification

  • Attorney of the High Court of South Africa

Research Interests

  • Human Rights, Intellectual Property & Access to Medicines
  • Trade and implications for access to health
  • Clinical law & legal aid service delivery

Recent Publications

  • Textbook: Pharmacy Law in South Africa (A Practitioner’s Handbook) (with A Gray and L Osman) Lexis Nexis (2019).
  • Analysing South Africa’s Compulsory Licensing Jurisprudence: Is There Room for the Public Interest (PI) in Intellectual Property (IP)? South African Intellectual Property Law Journal 2019.
  • Chapter 1: Health Legislation & Policy (with A Gray). South African Health Review 2019. Health Systems Trust, 2019.
  • Compulsory Licensing Jurisprudence in South Africa: Do We Have Our Priorities Right? Research Paper 90.South Centre, December 2018.
  • Chapter 1: Health Legislation & Policy (with A Gray). South African Health Review 2018. Health Systems Trust, 2018.
  • Transparency in medicines regulatory affairs – reclaiming missed opportunities (with A Gray) South African Journal of Bioethics & Law Vol 10 No 2 (2017)
  • Chapter 1: Health Policy & Legislation (with A Gray). South African Health Review 2017. Health Systems Trust, 2017.
  • Chapter 1: Health Policy & Legislation (with A Gray). South African Health Review 2016. Health Systems Trust, 2016.
  • Chapter 1: Health Policy & Legislation (with A Gray). South African Health Review 2014-2015. Health Systems Trust, 2015.
  • After the Novartis judgment – Evergreening will never be the same again! Law Development & Democracy 2014.
  • Prospects for Medicines Regulation Harmonisation in the SADC: Reflections on the AU Draft Model Law and Other Developments. SADC Law Journal 2015.
  • Chapter 1: Health Systems Trust, 2014. South African Health Review 2013-2014.
  • Chapter ‘Patent Law in Emerging Economies: South Africa’. Emerging Markets And The World Patent Order (2013) Abbott F Correa C & Drahos P (eds) Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013.
  • Who is watching the watchers? A critical assessment of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate’s prospects of investigating misconduct in the South African Police Service. (with M Mtshali). Law Democracy & Development 2013 (17) 132.
  • Achieving social justice in the human rights/intellectual property debate: realising the goal of access to medicines. (with BK Baker). African Human Rights Law Journal 2013 (13) 57.
  • Chapter 1: Health Policy & Legislation (with A Gray & C Jack). South African Health Review 2012 (2013).
  • Chapter ‘TRIPS, Access to Medicines and Local Production in South Africa’ (with A Gray) TRIPS & the New Political Economy of Pharmaceuticals in the Global South: Production, Innovation & Access to Medicines. Palgrave Macmillan (2012).
  • Challenges confronting health care workers in government’s ARV rollout: rights and responsibilities. (with F Variawa). Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 2012 (15) 2 487-520.
  • Chapter: Country Case Study: South Africa. In CM Correa (ed). Pharmaceutical Innovation, Incremental Patenting and Compulsory Licensing (2013) South Centre 223-262.
  • Chapter 1: Health Policy & Legislation. (with A Gray & C Jack). South African Health Review 2011.
  • Neonatal circumcision: Violation of children’s rights? Or public health necessity? (with LN Maqutu) South African Journal of Bioethics & Law June 2011 Vol 4 No 1.
  • Cold Comfort for Health Care Workers: Medico-ethical dilemmas facing a health care worker after occupational exposure to HIV (with TE Madiba & CL Jack). South African Family Practice 2010 Vol 52 No 4.
  • Compulsory testing of alleged sexual offenders – implications for human rights and access to treatment. (with TE Madiba). South African Journal of Bioethics & Law June 2010 Vol 3 No 1.
  • Ensuring Access Through the Medicines Amendment Act, 2008: Another Lost Opportunity? South African Law Journal 2009 126 (4).
  • But where is the halaal food? An appraisal of diversity teaching in South African Law clinical programmes. Journal for Juridical Science 2008 (Special Issue).
  • Intellectual Property – Putting the ’Public’ Back into ‘Private’ Law. De Rebus February 2008.
  • Free Trade Agreements with the US: Are they Good for your Health? Journal for Juridical Science 2007 No 2.
  • The Legal Services Charter Debate: Where are the People? De Rebus December 2006.
  • Lost in Translation: Language and Diversity Issues in Clinical Teaching. De Jure 39 Vol 2 2006.
  • Access to Justice: From Legal Representation to Promotion of Equality and Social Justice – Addressing the Legal Isolation of the Poor. Obiter Law Journal Vol 26 No 2 2005.
  • Book Review: Clinical Law in South Africa. South African Law Journal Vol 4 2004.
  • Learning from Experience: The Art and Science of Clinical Law. Journal for Juridical Science Vol 30 2004.
  • From Doha to Cancun: The Quest to Increase Access to Medicines under WTO Rules. South African Journal on Human Rights Vol 19 Part 4 2003.
  • Is Eleven Better Than One? Democracy and the Constitutional Court TAC Case. De Rebus March 2003.
  • Tripped-up on TRIPS: The Story of Shrinking Access to Drugs in Developing Countries. Stellenbosch Law Review Vol 3 No 3 2002. 19