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South African law: Books

Dictionaries & Encyclopedia


English has become the predominant legal language - although it is just one of the official languages protected by s.6(1) of the Constitution. (For a critique of the current situation see  J.M.Hlophe, "Official Languages and the Courts" 117 S. African L.J. 696 (2000).)

The LawBod does have bilingual dictionaries of South African law at S Africa 450.


The South African equivalent of  Halsbury's, Joubert's Laws of South Africa is a multi-volume work, updated with yearly cumulative supplements. It is often referred to by the abbreviation LAWSA.

Finding commentary

As a reflection of its civil law heritage, doctrine/legal scholarship is accepted in the courtroom as a persuasive source.

Printed resources

South African monographs have shelf marks beginning S. Africa 510. The current collection are shelved on Level 1. Superseded editions are indicated by (sec coll) after the shelf mark. They are also on open shelves for you to consult, but on a different floor, the Ground Floor. Members of staff will be happy to direct you to the right place(s) - please ask!

Comparative Studies

The LawBod shelves surveys of law (works looking at how a legal problem/legal topic is dealt with by various jurisdictions/legal systems) and comparative studies in the area with the shelfmark General. This is on Level 2, the entrance level to the Library.