The teaching of law in the province of KwaZulu-Natal began in 1910 in Pietermaritzburg when the Natal University College was established. Today the School of Law of the University of KwaZulu-Natal consists of two teaching centres (previously two Schools of law), one located on the Durban Campus the other on what is known as the Golf Course campus in Pietermaritzburg.
The Pietermaritzburg centre of the School of Law is housed in its own, purpose-built building on what used to be the municipal golf course of Pietermaritzburg. It is located on what used to be the fairway of the first hole, surrounded by the green lawns and trees. The Law Building contains the Law Library, a Moot Court and the offices of the lecturing and support staff.
The air-conditioned Library is a spacious facility with windows from floor to ceiling looking onto a tranquil scene of rolling lawns and trees. It is well-stocked with standard text-books, law reports from South Africa and most English-speaking countries. It has a good selection of law journals from South Africa, Africa, the Commonwealth, Europe and America.
The Moot Court is a facility especially designed to resemble a court room and serves also as a lecture theatre. The annual round of student moot competitions takes place here. This leads to a Final Moot, a prestigious event held before a Bench of sitting Judges of the High Court at which the best Mooters of the year display their forensic skills.
The Pietermaritzburg centre is a relatively small institution. It has an academic staff complement of 18 members who are representative in terms of race and gender. The School has a policy of restricting its LLB student enrollments in Pietermaritzburg to about 200 full-time students. This creates a relatively good staff-student ratio which makes it possible to provide students with individual attention from the staff. The student body also represents most sectors of the population of KwaZulu-Natal. Student affairs are attended to by an active Law Students’ Council, which annually organises several events including an Education Day and the Law Students Dinner.
Although small, the Pietermaritzburg centre of the School of Law has a good reputation for its teaching and research. It has a special reputation in criminal law and environmental law. Pietermaritzburg offers one of the few post-graduate courses in environmental law at Master’s level. The School also edits and publishes South Africa’s only academic journal in environmental law, the South African Journal of Environmental Law and Policy. Members of staff have written books on Criminal Law and Procedure, Environmental Law, Business Law, Tax Law and Administrative Law.
The Dean and Head of the School of Law, comprising the centres at Durban (Howard College) and Pietermaritzburg, is Professor Managay Reddi.