About Us

The Centre for Child Law (“CCL/ the Centre”) is a child rights strategic litigation organisation that was established in 1998. CCL is registered as a law clinic with the Legal Practice Council in terms of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014. CCL is housed in the University of Pretoria’s Law Faculty, where we concurrently conduct research and teaching activities.

The CCL utilises strategic litigation, extensive empirical research, and advocacy to advance children’s rights in South Africa. Over the last 25 years, CCL has developed a renowned reputation for ensuring that children’s voices are heard and included in all matters affecting them and serves as the first port of call for judges, lawyers, activists, caregivers, and children themselves when seeking to uphold and fulfil the rights of a child.

Our vision

The CCL’s vision is to establish and promote child law and uphold the rights of children in South Africa, within an international and regional context, particularly to ensure that national laws and supporting systems recognise, respect, promote and protect the rights of children.

Our mission

Our mission is to work towards the development of child law and the realisation of children’s rights in South Africa, within a regional and international context, through strategic litigation, research, advocacy, and education.

CCL engages in the following activities to give effect to our mandate


CCL conducts research to create strong evidence base for its litigation and to properly study issues that affect children in South Africa to develop effective advocacy strategies intended to achieve our vision and mission.

Legislative and policy advocacy

One of the ways in which CCL engages in advocacy is by tendering written submissions to parliament to give effect to children’s rights in statute and policy.

Impact Litigation

CCL engages in strategic impact litigation where cases are brought forward to ensure changes in law and policy intended to ensure broader long term legal and social change in the lives of affected children and their communities.

Education/ Academia

LLB Elective

(KID 410) CHILD LAW 410

KID 410 is presented by the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

In 2009 a final year elective in Child Law was introduced. The Centre co-ordinates this course which falls under Private Law, although it includes lectures on a wide range of topics and – as is always the case with child law – it does not fit neatly into any of the divisions of law. The course attracted about 40 students in its first year. In 2009 the Centre, partnered by CE@UP, offered several certificate courses in Child Law.

Amount of lectures per week: 2 (10 credits)
Course: LLB

Topics covered:

  1. The status of children in South African law
  2. The constitutional protection of children
  3. General principles of the Children’s Act 38 of 2005
  4. Parental responsibilities and rights
  5. Children courts
  6. Adoption and alternative care
  7. International instruments pertaining to children’s rights
  8. Inter-country adoption and international abduction
  9. Children and the criminal justice system

View all the undergraduate modules at the Department of Private Law, University of Pretoria


LLM in Child Law (04250099)

The LLM in Child Law is presented by the Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria

The LLM programme co-ordinated by the Centre was restructured in 2009 and is now largely focused on practical outputs, current case law and recent developments in all aspects of child law in
South Africa. There are three modules that examine child law in the context of private law, criminal law and constitutional and international law. Practical exams for each of the modules are conducted in the form of a moot court.

Lectures for the course-work masters are presented after hours over a two year period and in addition to the modules, a mini-dissertation is completed. The new and improved approach to postgraduate learning has been met with great approval.

Modules as part of the LLM Child Law

  • Aspects of Criminal and Criminal Procedural Law pertaining to Children (SSK 802)
  • Aspects of Private Law pertaining to Children (PLC 801)
  • Constitutional and International Law pertaining to Children (GIK 801)

The following coursework LLM degrees are offered by the Department of Private law:

  • LLM Child Law (04250099)
  • LLM Law of Contract (04250100)
  • LLM Private Law: General (04250085)
  • LLM Private Law: Estate Law (04250086)
  • LLM Private Law: Family Law (04250087)

View all the postgraduate modules at the Department of Private Law, University of Pretoria

Training and Capacity Building

CCL provides training and capacity building for professionals and community-based workers on different child rights-related issues. We have a practical and practice-based approach to teaching to ensure that the law is used as a tool by all to advance the best interests of the child.

Community lawyering through our law clinic

CCL provides legal services directly to members of the public, including children themselves, who approach us on matters affecting children. The matters are usually brought to our attention through the children themselves, parents, guardians and caregivers, teachers, social workers, legal representatives, community-based organisations, or other non-profit organisations.

Key Areas


Birth registration

Childcare, protection and social assistance

Children’s right to environmental justice

Children and the criminal justice system

Children with disabilities

Migrant children

Vanguard child rights and child law matters

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