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Dr Bev Townsend – UKZN School of Law
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School of Law

Dr Bev Townsend

Telephone: +27 83 233 4437
Campus: Howard College (operating from Cape Town)


Bev holds the degrees of BA, LLB, LLM with specialisation in Commercial Law, Banking and Insurance Law, a P.G.Dip.(Tax), a second LLM degree obtained cum laude from UCT in Biotechnology Law, Electronic IP law, Electronic transactions law and Human Rights. She obtained her PhD from the University of Cape Town in 2017.

In her PhD, Bev considered the interplay of the right to privacy and data protection in digital health in Africa. Her interest and expertise is in digital ethics, governance and regulation in an electronic environment in the financial, technology, and healthcare sectors within developing economies and internationally. Specifically, she looks at the the ethical tension created by data, especially Big Data and medical data, and the influence human rights, particularly the rights to privacy and data protection, have within a digital, electronic environment – that is – the highly contextual and nuanced nature of privacy and data protection in a networked world. Within this context she considers the regulation and ethical impact of such rights and how the right of privacy, freedom of expression and security rights contribute and conflict in a new digital era and the manner in which such rights may be reconciled in a helpful way.

Bev has over 12 year’s experience as a legal consultant and legal advisor within the insurance, financial, and banking sectors, both at Liberty Life and Investec Bank.
Bev is interested in eHealth, privacy rights, data protection and informational privacy, new data protection regulation (POPIA) in South Africa, informed consent, Big Data and biobanking, and regulatory and policy reform in South Africa. She is a part of the research team at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal’s Health Law and Bioethics flagship, looking at the latest legal and ethical developments in gene editing and precision medicine, in particular, the application of CRISPR-Cas9, and the impact that altering the human genome has on society within the context of South African law.

Academic Qualifications:

  • BA (UNISA)
  • LLM (Banking, Commercial, Insurance Law, Human Rights) (UNISA)
  • P.Grad Dip (Tax) (UCT)
  • LLM (Biotechnology and Intellectual Property Law) (cum laude) (UCT)
  • PhD (UCT)

Professional Qualifications

  • Admitted as an Advocate of the High Court in 2000.

Research Interests

  • Health Law
  • Digital Health/eHealth
  • Informational Privacy and Data Protection
  • Human Rights

Recent Publications and Papers

  • ‘The Development of Ethical Guidelines for Telemedicine in South Africa’ South African Journal of Bioethics and Law – 2019