Question 1:

Martha recently graduated with her Doctorate in Law degree (LLD) and got a position at the University of Stellenbosch as a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law. She is tasked with teaching Applied Research for Law Practitioners. Her first lecture is based on the history of legal research. Martha is nervous and is not well-informed on the subject. She comes to you, a research expert, to ask for your assistance.


Write an essay wherein you describe and discuss the history of South African legal research to assist Martha with her lecture on the history of legal research.

Question 2:

Thabo and Mark are post-graduate law students at the University of Cape Town. On one of their research breaks, they start having a friendly debate about what makes the law valid. Thabo is of the view that the law is valid when it is created by a body that has the authority to make the law. On the other hand, Mark believes that law can only be valid if it considers the morals and principles of humans.


Identify and explain further what theoretical reasoning/thinking is represented by Thabo’s and Mark’s beliefs about the law.

Question 3:

Gabriel is a registered LLM student at the University of South Africa. He is currently working on his research proposal and has decided on the title for his research project. His project is titled ‘The language issue: Exploring what the law provides for contracts concluded where one party does not understand the language used.’ He has written his assumption, premise, and hypothesis as follows :

A: Legislative provisions are not clear enough in terms of the use of plain language, which leads to people entering into contracts they do not understand and, later, being held liable for breach of contract.

B. Legislation is ambiguous concerning how plain language is defined and how it should be practically applied.

C. There has been a need and a call for increased use of plain language in the field of law in South Africa. Plain language refers to simple, understandable, but effective language that can be used in legal documents, legislation, agreements, etc. The opposite of this is legalese, a highly detailed, intricate language that is often very difficult to understand for the average person. The need for plain language is further highlighted when one considers that for most people in South Africa, English is not their first language. Further, South African society is comprised of people with a wide range of scholastic and academic abilities and backgrounds. It thus becomes clear that intricate legal language, as contained in many documents and agreements, can be problematic for many people, particularly in South Africa.


Read statements A, B, and C and indicate whether they are Gabriel’s assumption, hypothesis, or premise. Provide a reason for your answer.

Question 4:

Nhlakanipho is a student at North-West University in Potchefstroom. He is studying towards his Bachelor of Social Sciences (Development Studies) in the Humanities Department. His sister, Nonhlanhla, is also a student at the same university, studying to obtain her LLB degree. Nhlakanipho is tasked with a research project for one of his modules in which he needs to research on law as a research discipline. He goes to his sister Nonhlanhla for assistance. However, Nonhlanhla is an undergraduate law student and cannot provide answers to some of the questions Nhlakanipho has.

Nhlakanipho knows that you are a student at Boston, and one of your modules is Applied Research for Law Practitioners and therefore approaches you for assistance.


Nhlakanipho wants to know what makes legal research unique. Identify and discuss the unique characteristics of legal research.

Question 5:

Mihlali submitted her research proposal for approval by the University of Zululand research committee, and it has been approved. She has compiled her literature and now wants to start the writing process. However, she is unfamiliar with how to go about composing her chapters.

5.1. In your own words, explain to Mihlali the differences between the text/body and the conclusion of the research project. (5 marks)

5.2. Provide a detailed discussion wherein you explain to Mihlali on how she needs to write her text. (15 marks)

Question 6:

“Contrary to the developed world, where language rights are often intended to protect languages spoken by minority groups, in Africa, including South Africa, language rights are aimed at protecting languages spoken by the majority of the people against dominant languages, such as English, French, Portuguese, and sometimes other dominant African languages. In the former case, the debate tends to be framed from the language ecology perspective, whereby the basic argument is that languages, endangered languages in particular, need to be supported through inclusive policies in order for them to live and thrive. In the latter instance, specifically in the case of South Africa, language rights are framed from a legal perspective, as evidenced by the articulation of language rights in the Constitution and other legislative frameworks.

Sections 6, 9, 29, 30, 31, and 35 of the Constitution describe language rights in the public domain. Section 6(1) affords official status to 11 languages, 9 indigenous African languages. In Section 6(2), the State is ordered to ‘take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages’ (Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, 4). Section 29 (2) adopts this flexible approach to language use, stating that ‘everyone has a right to receive education in the official language or languages of their choice in public educational institutions where that education is reasonably practicable’ (Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, 15).

While phrases such as ‘practical’ and ‘reasonably practical’ allow institutions to tailor language policies to their needs, these phrases open the possibility of the continuation of old practices. The Honourable Justice Sachs described institutional language policies as ‘messy, inelegant, and contradictory,’ as most institutions tended at first to resort to English and Afrikaans, and thus undermine the promotion of multilingualism as promulgated in Language in Education Policy (Department of Education 1997) and Language Policy for Higher Education (Department of Education 2002).

Arguably, the practicality consideration that is also articulated in these two policies encourages some school governing bodies and universities’ language structures to adopt an ambivalent attitude, and in extreme cases, a hostile attitude towards African languages, claiming to be protecting the language rights of the institutions on ‘academic’ grounds. In higher education, various organisations, for example, AfriForum in 2015, have litigated universities about changes to their language policies concerning the perceived diminishment of Afrikaans. It should also be acknowledged that there has been, at the national level, an absence of political will to really support language education towards language access in all education sectors.

To date, PanSALB has failed to develop a visible plan and profile for language development in South Africa (SA Government News Agency 2016). The absence of credible regulatory control, a realisable mandate, and the capacity to deliver on its accountability aims has weakened PanSALB.”

Required :

In preparation for Summative Assessment 1 (SA1), you are required to conduct research on the given research theme and write a 5-6 page draft research proposal.

The theme of the research is Language Rights in Education.

Answers to Above Questions on Research for Law

Answer 1: An analysis of the history of South African legal research indicates that it has evolved over time, as it can be tracked back from the colonial era followed by an influence of Roman Dutch Law, apartheid era, incorporation of indigenous legal traditions etc.


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