Georgetown Law
Georgetown Law Library

South African Legal Research

This is a brief guide to researching South African law.


Constitution of the Republic of South Africa
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, was approved by the Constitutional Court (CC) on 4 December 1996 and took effect on 4 February 1997. It is a unique and lengthy document that includes rights to housing, health care, food, and water. We've also included some publications about the history and creation of the South African constitution. There are many more books, so be sure to search the online catalog.

  • Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996
    This is from the South African government and includes a pdf version from the Statutes of the Republic of South Africa. It is unclear if the pdf has all the current amendments. Previous versions of the constitution and text of amendments are also available.
  • Constitutional Law of South Africa
    This four volume looseleaf is a comprehensive survey. It is also available on Westlaw (CLOSA).
  • HeinOnline World Constitutions Illustrated TryIt
    Fabulous collection of South African constitutions and relevant, historic British acts of Parliament. Also provides links to scholarly commentary and articles (only to those available on HeinOnline, so you should also search other journal databases).
  • Constitutions of the Countries of the World
    This database contains the full text of constitutions from over 190 countries. The database contains English translations for all the countries, plus introductory and comparative notes that review recent amendments and provide historical and political information. This is the electronic equivalent of the print versionlocated in Wolff at INTL K3157.A2 B54 (we also maintain a print archive of older constitutions from this set).
  • One Law, One Nation: The making of the South African Constitution Intl KTL2101 .S44 2012
    This book includes new archival materials (such has Mandela's notes) to discuss the the background of the constitution.
  • The Soul of a Nation: Constitution-making in South Africa Intl KTL2070 .E27 1998 by Hassen Ebrahim
    Discusses the historic process in a chronological arrangement and includes various letters, speeches, memoranda, etc.
  • Constitutional Assembly Database
    This robust collection of documents is presently inaccessible due to a computer crash. There is a ongoingproject to restore the datafiles.