Pretoria University Law Press (PULP)

PULP is an open-access publisher based at the Centre for Human Rights, University of Pretoria

Invitation to all doctoral candidates

Students who have completed, or will complete, their doctoral studies in law at an African University in 2021 are encouraged to submit their doctoral theses for consideration for the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award, which is awarded on an annual basis. The winning thesis will be published in book form by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP).

What is the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award?

The Memorial Thesis Award was introduced to honour the memory of the late Professor Christof Heyns, who passed away in March 2021. Professor Heyns was a founder of the Pretoria University Law Press and took the initiative towards the introduction of this prize. This prize underlines his exceptional passion for promoting scholarship and a life devoted to initiating innovative ideas to make the world a better place for all. There can be no better way to begin to recognise the enormous contribution that Professor Heyns has made to advancing scholarship, research and publication in Africa, by Africans and on Africa.

What do I win?

The panel of experts will decide a winner and one runner-up.
The winning thesis will be published in book form by the Pretoria University Law Press (PULP).

The winner of the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award receives a cash prize of R10 000 in addition to the option to publish with PULP. The runner-up receives a R5 000 cash prize and the option to publish their thesis in book form, with PULP.

Are there entry fees?

No. There are no entry fees to enter the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award.

How to enter

All submissions are electronic and no hard-copies are accepted. Your entry must be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You will receive an acknowledgement of receipt via email.

When is the opening date? 

1 March 2022

When is the closing date? 

30 June 2022

When must the thesis have been successfully examined?

In the year 2021. Candidates who have completed their doctoral studies in law during a particular year at an African university (in the sense that it has been successfully examined during 2021) are invited to submit their theses for consideration for the annual Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award during the following year (2022).

Must examiner reports must be sent with the thesis entry?

Yes. All examiner reports must accompany your thesis.

Language requirements 

For practical reasons theses must be submitted in English. The language and style of the thesis must be of an acceptable academic standard.

With what topic must my thesis deal?

Themes and topics with which your thesis must deal:

  • Human rights,
  • Good governance, or
  • Social justice as seen from an African perspective.

Competition rules

  • Your thesis may not have been submitted to be published as a book with another publisher.
  • Submissions must be accompanied by a declaration that the thesis has not been submitted to be published as a book with another publisher.
  • If you enter this competition and submit your book for publication with another publisher, you forfeit your entry.
  • Submissions must be accompanied by a short note from the author, making the case why the particular thesis complies with these criteria.
  • The thesis must deal with the relevant topics or themes.
  • Submission must be accompanied by a plagiarism declaration. See https://www.up.ac.za/media/shared/1/ZP_Files/s5106-19-plagiarism-prevention-policy.zp181077.pdf for more information.
  • Submissions must be accompanied by supporting documentation showing the thesis has been examined successfully (for example: letter of completion from institution, examiner reports, graduation certificate, academic record indicating successful completion of thesis, etc.).
  • Submissions must be accompanied by all the examiner reports (Word.docx or PDF format).
  • Submissions must contain at least six key words.
  • The thesis must be in English.
  • The language and style of the thesis must be of an acceptable academic standard.
  • The thesis must contain the index (table of contents), list of abbreviations and acronyms, annexures (if any), bibliography, and table of cases, statutes, legal instruments, etc.
  • The thesis must be submitted to PULP on/before 30 June 2022.
  • The thesis must have been successfully examined during 2021.

POPIA

PULP gathers and stores the information of all entrants in compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (POPIA). PULP will not share, publish or distribute the information of any entrants, supervisors, promoters or examiners with any third parties. Once the winner and runners-up are decided, they will be contacted personally to obtain their consent to publish their names in the announcement on the PULP website and social media. PULP will ensure that all entries are encrypted with passwords.

How will the winning thesis be determined?

  • The best thesis will be selected by a panel of at least three experts in the field, who have not been involved as supervisors or examiners in any of the theses concerned, appointed by the PULP editorial board.
  • The panel will be convened by a member of the panel appointed by PULP who is not based at the University of Pretoria (UP).
  • The criteria used by the panel will be the inherent quality of the research, delivery, as well as the relevance of the topic to African challenges and the originality of the approach.
  • The entries will be anonymised before they are sent to the panel of experts.

Guidelines which the panel of experts will use to determine the winning thesis

The panel of experts will use the following criteria to determine the winning thesis. This is not a closed list and the panel of experts may consider additional factors.

  • Relevance of area and quality of topic frame (20)
  • Depth and quality of research (20)
    • Whether the author’s assumptions are acceptable and theoretically justified
    • Whether the contribution achieves the stated goals consistently and cogently
  • Originality of the research and approach (20)
  • Contribution to knowledge (20)
    • Whether the research provides an original contribution to knowledge in the field
  • Delivery (20)
    • Language, tone and style is of an acceptable academic standard
    • Whether the author’s goals are clearly stated and
    • Structure, consistently and cogently
    • Referencing and citations
  • (Total 100)

Submission checklist

Ensure that your entry contains all the following information:

  • Entrant name and surname 
  • Entrant contact details: (email address)  
  • Institution where entrant completed the doctorate (university name) 
  • Date of submission to PULP 
  • Thesis (Word.docx)  
  • All examiner reports attached  
  • Declaration that the thesis has not been submitted to be published as a book with another publisher 
  • Short note from the author, making the case why the particular thesis complies with these criteria  
  • Plagiarism declaration 
  • At least six key words  
  • Index (table of contents), list of abbreviations and acronyms, annexures (if any), bibliography, and table of cases, statutes, legal instruments, etc. 
  • Supporting documentation showing the thesis has been examined successfully  
  • Copyright declaration 

After submission

Once you have submitted your entry via email, you will receive an acknowledgement of receipt. This means that your entry is successful. The competition closes on 30 June 2022. From 1 July 2022, the panel of experts will review all the entries. The announcement of the winner will be made in November 2022.

About PULP

PULP is an open-access publisher established in 2005 and is based at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, South Africa. PULP endeavours to publish and make available innovative, high-quality scholarly texts on law in Africa. PULP also publishes a series of collections of legal documents related to public law in Africa, as well as text books from African countries other than South Africa. For more information see https://www.pulp.up.ac.za/about-pulp.

Submit you thesis to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information, contact

Liesl Hager
Research, Marketing and Publishing Assistant
Pretoria University Law Press (PULP)

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