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Master of Laws Graduate Runner-up in Law Reform Essay Contest

September 22, 2016

Mr Sibusiso Mbutho accepting his prize at the recent Ismail Mahomed Law Reform Essay Competition Awards Ceremony held in Johannesburg.

An essay by Masters of Law graduate Mr Sibusiso Mbutho has won second place in the 2015 Ismail Mahomed Law Reform Essay Competition.

Mbutho’s entry was titled: “The Judicial Test for Defensible Affirmative Action Measures: A Critique of the Rationality Standard of Judicial Review”.

The competition, named in honour of the late Chief Justice and former Chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission, encourages critical legal writing by students, while generating new ideas for law reform. It calls for submissions in the LLB and LLM categories that relate to modernisation, improvement, development or reform of any aspect, area or branch of South African law.

Mbutho’s essay, a section of his research for his master’s degree which he received in April, critiques the rationality standard as a judicial standard of review for defensible affirmative action measures against a background of achieving equality in South Africa which flows from the founding values of the Constitution and a right in the Bill of Rights.

‘My research deals with serious issues - the achievement of equality and the challenges encountered there from - which are in the public interest. I saw the competition as a big opportunity to reward myself for the huge effort I put into my masters dissertation. I take pride in that it was the first time I entered the competition and I received second prize,’ said Mbutho.

Mbutho, an attorney of the High Court of South Africa but currently employed as a Law Researcher at the Constitutional Court, says pursuing the postgrad studies had a significant impact in widening his passion for a career in Law as a young scholar and academic.

‘My goal is to champion the advancement of human rights through human rights education, the achievement of equality and to address social justice key issues, among other things. I aim to become a judge someday but I still look towards studying further and investing in my knowledge,’ he said.

Thandiwe Jumo


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