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The fifth edition of Beginner’s Guide for Law Students is a foundational text which introduces first-year law students to:
• basic legal terminology and definitions;
• the South African legal system’s objectives, history and subdivisions; and
• legal research skills.
Students are introduced to the law as it stands, in accessible terms, with reference to the different sources of law and popular media, to demonstrate how the law affects the everyday lives of individuals and groups in South Africa. Without detracting from the book’s accessibility, students are made aware of the law’s complexity, contestability and uncertainties.
Beginner’s Guide for Law Students goes further in exposing students to critical voices on existing law and encourages students to start developing their own informed opinions about the legal system and what it can and cannot achieve in addressing South African problems today. Students are invited to continuously reflect on the implications of the ‘transformative’ Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 for the various dimensions of law. However, it is also shown that transformative constitutionalism is not the be-all and end-all of South African law, free from its own limits and criticism. As such, relevant ‘decolonial’ critiques of transformative constitutionalism are explored.