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Faculty of Law, Business & Economics

Chair of African Legal Studies – Prof. Dr. Thoko Kaime

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Side Subject Law in Africa

The minor subject law in Africa combines courses about selected legal fields with a regional focus on the African continent and introductions into German and international public law. With its combination of lectures and small seminars the minor offers diverse types of teaching. It is a good addition to the study paths Kultur und Gesellschaft Afrikas (KuGeA) and Geographische Entwicklungsforschung Afrikas (GEFA) as jurisprudence opens up a new thematic field for an interdisciplinary study of Africa-related issues. Altogether, the minor consists of three modules, whereby the chair of African Legal Studies by Prof. Dr Thoko Kaime is responsible for all seminars related to Africa.

With its lectures and tutorials about constitutional law and basic rights the first module offers an introduction in German public law. The courses are offered by the respective chairs at the faculty of law and economics and are finalised with a written exam at the end of the semester. In total, two of the three courses must be terminated with an examination, whereas the lecture about constitutional law with its relations to European law and international law allows for an oral exam.

The second module encompasses an introduction to African legal systems as well as a seminar dealing with key issues of African law that is finalized with a written seminar paper. Furthermore, the module includes a deepened discussion of international law, whereby the two lectures are offered by Prof. Dr Jörg Gundel’s chair.

The third module includes courses about selected legal fields at the African continent, whereby a special focus is put on constitutionalism, human rights and questions of climate justice in the Global South. In addition, students attend an introduction in sociology of law or comparative law as well an introduction in English common law or French civil law. Finally, the module is going to be terminated with an oral exam. 

Examination regulations of side subject law

Guide for Law in Africa

Lisa Strube

"In addition to my main subject African Development Studies in Geography, I chose the minor in African Law. The different legal systems of the African continent as well as the current legal development in African states are an exciting field of study, especially in combination with the background knowledge from African Development Studies. The small seminar groups were perfect for discussions. Particularly I liked the exchange with other students. Some of them had other major subjects, so we looked at legal issues from different perspectives. Especially the seminars on family and land law, but also the legal introductory courses such as fundamental rights and international law now provide me with the necessary basic knowledge for my Human Rights Master's degree.“

Ian Pasternak

"The combination of research on geographical development and law may not be so obvious at first. However, the complex subject area of the African continent is supplemented by valuable perspectives from international law and customary law; perspectives that are otherwise not found in any other course  of the main subject. The connections quickly become clear: Most recently, I dealt with the case of Jean-Pierre Bemba, the former Congolese Vice President who was brought before the International Criminal Court for war crimes in the Central African Republic".   


Sophie Stange

"I decided to combine culture and society in Africa as my major subject and law in Africa as a minor. Law in Africa combines the necessary basic knowledge from the juristic curriculum such as fundamental rights and international law with special knowledge about legal systems in selected African countries. This connection offers new opportunities to understand problems and perhaps also to look for solutions. I especially like the exchange among the students as well as the discussions with the teachers. In addition, the sessions always give you the feeling of being able to change something in the world, which sometimes seems unreal for some problems".

Klara Schmalbach

"I value my minor 'Law in Africa' for the additional perspective it has given me on structural challenges. The fundamental understanding of law and the ability to assess the scope of legislation and jurisdiction in the national and international environment has not only given me a differentiated picture of the African continent. The mixture of classical law lectures and specific seminars in the African context was a great addition to my main subject 'Geographical Development Studies of Africa'. It enables me to think and work transdisciplinarily in my Master 'Governance of Sustainability'.​"

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