Applications open for the inaugural Pius Langa Memorial Fellowship at UCL

The Constitutional Court Trust (CCT) is delighted to announce the establishment of a new fellowship programme to benefit young lawyers in South Africa committed to forwarding constitutional and human rights law in South Africa and / or Africa.

This new fellowship will afford one early career lawyer per year the opportunity to study towards a LLM at University College London (UCL) in the United Kingdom, one of the top ranked universities in the world.

The fellowship is named in memory of Chief Justice Pius Langa, a decision that, according to CCT chairperson Justice Sisi Khampepe, is most fitting:

“Justice Langa was not only central to the establishment of the Constitutional Court Trust but, more importantly, his dedication, humility and commitment to the notion that service must be at the heart of leadership are rare qualities we believe young lawyers should be aspiring to emulate in contemporary South Africa.”

Chief Justice Langa’s family has welcomed the establishment of this fellowship:

“We are humbled that the Constitutional Court Trust has seen it fitting to honour the legacy of Justice Langa in this way. We think it’s a fitting tribute to the contribution that he made towards the development of constitutional and human rights law. We look forward to seeing a new generation of lawyers committed to justice and transformation in Africa being developed through this fellowship programme."

Starting in 2022, the Pius Langa Memorial Fellowship is an exciting new step for the CCT. Other fellowships administered by the CCT have been limited to selected former clerks of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court. In the case of this new fellowship programme, however, the decision has been taken to extend this opportunity beyond former clerks to include exceptional young South African and African lawyers who have worked for a South African NGO in a legal programme focused on constitutional and human rights law.

Professor David Bilchitz,  a trustee of the Constitutional Court Trust and Professor at both the University of Johannesburg and the University of Reading, said:

“One of the exciting features of this scholarship is that it is open not only to Constitutional Court Clerks but to legal innovators in civil society who are utilising the Constitution to advance social justice. We thus hope that the opportunity to study for an LLM degree will further contribute to strengthening civil society and its contribution to the advancement of constitutional democracy in our country”

The fellowship award will be for £20,000 to cover travel and living expenses for the fellow, funded by the CCT’s kindred organisation, the UK-based charity, the South African Constitutional Court Trust - United Kingdom (SACCT-UK). UCL Faculty of Laws will generously be providing a full tuition waiver (2021 value: £28,500) to the Pius Langa Memorial fellows selected by the CCT.


  • One fellowship will be awarded for the 2022 – 2023 academic year.
  • It will be tenable at UCL Faculty of Laws in London.
  • The fellowship includes a full tuition waiver from UCL and an award of GBP20,000 which is specifically intended to cover travel and living expenses associated with studies.
  • Fellows must include at least one module relating to human rights or constitutional law as part of the LLM studies they undertake at UCL pursuant to the Pius Langa Memorial Fellowship.
  • The award is conditional on the prospective fellow being offered a place on the fulltime LLM programme at UCL Faculty of Laws in the academic year for which the award of the Fellowship is made. For the avoidance of doubt, the prospective fellow will need to apply to the fellowship programme, and for admission to UCL Faculty of Laws LLM, separately, which LLM application will be considered under the normal admissions procedure and criteria.

Who is eligible to apply?

  •  Applicants must be nationals of an African country who are either law clerks or former law clerks of the South African Constitutional Court, or early career lawyers active in South African civil society, working for a South African NGO in a legal programme focused on constitutional and human rights law.
  •  Applicants must have demonstrated a commitment to human rights and an intention to continue working in the area of human rights and / or constitutional law as it relates to South Africa and / or Africa.
  •  Preference will be given to applicants who:
    •  do not already hold an LLM degree;
    •  have not had the opportunity to study abroad;
    •  will be no older than 35 years of age at the start of proposed studies.

How to apply
Applicants must send their applications to by email by Sunday, 03 October 2021.  

Applications should include the following:

  • A 1 – 2 page motivational letter on why you should be awarded the fellowship.
  • A curriculum vitae (CV) no longer than 3 pages.
  • University transcripts for all higher education qualifications, noting that an excellent academic record is a prerequisite for consideration as a fellow.
  • One example of written work, relevant to your application, and demonstrating your ability to excel in a top tier LLM programme. The indicative length for writing samples is 2000 – 3000 words – please do not submit longer pieces of writing. Contextualised extracts are acceptable.
  • Two recent, professional letters of support – at least one should relate to work undertaken by the applicant in South African civil society, or at the Constitutional Court in South Africa. If listing a current Constitutional Court Justice as a referee, the name of the judge will suffice -  no letter is required.

Interviews of shortlisted candidates will take virtually in late October 2021. Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 



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