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Law - Guide for Non-Law Students: Legislation

Legal Research Resources for Non-Law Students


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What is legislation?

Legislation is law laid down by an organ of the state which has the power to do so. These laws are embodied in writing and are known as ‘statutes’ (or ‘acts’). In South Africa, Parliament is the highest organ that can pass legislation on the national level. The Constitution empowers Parliament to do so. There are also lower bodies, that can pass subordinate legislation such as municipalities that enact by-laws (Viljoen, D.K. (2010), Beginner's Guide for Law Students, 4th Edition, Juta Law, Cape Town). 

Legislation is a primary source.

Research Support

Find search guides, training videos and tutorials to assist you with finding Legislation and conducting research with Legislation on the Research Support tab.

Reputable Links

Reputable Internet links to early SA legislation and international legislation can be found on the Reputable Links tab


Law Database Links

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South African Databases:

International and Foreign Databases

South African Legislation


Statutory materials such as the Acts of Paliament are officially published in the Government Gazette.  They are also published in consolidated ("as amended") form by the major South African legal publishers, Juta and LexisNexis.  The consolidated versions are available electronically on Jutastat OnlineLexisNexis and Sabinet Legal.

The statutes are also available in hard copy in the library.

  • Butterworths Classified and Annotated Statutes of South Africa: classified and annotated from 1910 (RMF SOUT) is a loose-leaf edition that is updated twice annually.  Acts are published in Afrikaans and English;
  • Butterworths Statutes of the Republic of South Africa (RMF SUID BUTT) is a hard cover set and statutes are in English only.

Statutes can also be found in electronic format on the UJ subscribed Databases.

International and Foreign Legislation: Electronic

Click on theInfo icon | Myiconfindernext to a particular database link to view the jurisdictions covered in that database.