Invitation to all doctoral candidates
Students who have completed, or will complete, their doctoral studies in law at an African University in 2022 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
When is the opening date?
1 January 2023
When is the closing date?
30 June 2023
When must the thesis have been successfully examined?
In the year 2022. 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 2022) are invited to submit their theses for consideration for the annual Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award during the following year (2023).
Must examiner reports be sent with the thesis entry?
Yes. All examiner reports must accompany your thesis.
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.
- 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 2023.
- The thesis must have been successfully examined during 2022.
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
- Depth and quality of research
- 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
- Contribution to knowledge
- Whether the research provides an original contribution to knowledge in the field
- 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
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
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 2023. From 1 July 2023, the panel of experts will review all the entries. The announcement of the winner will be made in November 2023.
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.
For more information, contact
Pretoria University Law Press (PULP)
The first recipient of the Christof Heyns Memorial Thesis Award by an African doctoral candidate completed in 2020, goes to Dr Tabeth Lynn Masengu. The winning thesis by Dr Masengu is titled “What lies beneath the complex nature of appointing women judges in Zambia and South Africa”, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Hugh Corder, University of Cape Town, and Professor Eva Brems, University of Ghent. The degree was awarded by the University of Cape Town.
Two runners-up were also identified. The first is Dr Satang Nabaneh, who graduated with a thesis titled “Power dynamics in the provision of legal abortion: A feminist perspective on nurses and conscientious objection in South Africa”, from the University of Pretoria. Her thesis was prepared under the supervision of Professor Charles Ngwena, University of Pretoria, and Professor Siri Gloppen, University of Bergen. The second runner-up is Dr Muhammad Bello, who completed a thesis titled “The place of socio-economic rights in sovereign debt governance” under the supervision of Prof Elizabeth Snyman-Van Deventer and Dr Annelie de Man at the University of the Free State. Dr Bello graduated from the University of the Free State.
The award for the best thesis by an African doctoral candidate completed in 2021, goes to Dr Macaulay Chairman Okoloise. The winning thesis, by Dr Macaulay Chairman Okoloise, is titled “The Role of the African Human Rights System Advancing Corporate Accountability in the Extractive Industries”, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Magnus Killander. The degree was awarded by the University of Pretoria.
The runner-up thesis, by Dr Irene Thomas, is titled “The Application Of The Principle Of Complementarity In The Relationship Between The African Court And The African Commission Under The Regional African Human Rights System”, and was completed under the supervision of Professor Annika Rudman. The degree was awarded by the University of Stellenbosch.