What High School Subjects are Needed to study Law (LLB): Become a Lawyer in South Africa

What High School Subjects (Grade 10, Grade 11, and Grade 12) are Needed to study Law (LLB) in South Africa (in order to become a Lawyer). Besides English, Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, there are no compulsory subjects for law studies in South African High Schools. The same applies to other fields such as: Marketing, Social Work, Psychology, Journalism, Human Resources Management, and many others.

However, when it comes to law courses, English Language is very crucial. Your English grammar, as well as outstanding vocabulary, will make you an outstanding Lawyer who can present cases in a well-articulated manner. Whether you take English First Language or English First Aditional Language, it doesn’t matter significantly.

List of Grade 10 – Grade 12 High School Subjects Needed to Study Law in South Africa

The journey to becoming a lawyer in South Africa is a challenging yet rewarding one. The legal profession is a respected and sought-after career path that offers a unique opportunity to serve and protect the rights of individuals and society. To become a lawyer in South Africa, one needs to successfully complete a series of academic steps and professional requirements. Below, we aim to provide a comprehensive overview of the subjects and courses necessary for this journey.

Preliminary Phase: Subjects Needed to Become a Lawyer

Minimum admission requirements to study Law Courses in South Africa: Before a student can begin tertiary education, they need to complete their secondary school or matriculation.

What subjects are needed to become a Lawyer? The South African education system does not strictly dictate what subjects are needed to study law at the university level. However, students are encouraged to take grade 10 – grade 12 subjects that enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication skills. Therefore, the high school subjects needed as part of the requirements to study law are English, History, Mathematics, and even languages other than English. Lets discuss these more:

Subjects needed to become a Lawyer (recommended):

  1. English: English is the medium of instruction in many South African universities. Therefore, a strong command of the English language is crucial for any student aspiring to study law. English hones skills such as essay writing, critical reading, and comprehension. These skills are necessary for law students who will need to understand and interpret complex legal documents, draft legal arguments, and communicate effectively. It’s recommended that students aim for a mark of at least 60% in English.
  2. Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy: While not directly related to law, Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy can develop logical and analytical thinking skills that are essential for a legal career. Mathematics helps in developing problem-solving abilities and a logical mindset, both necessary for lawyers who often need to find solutions to complex issues. Students should aim to achieve at least a passing grade in Mathematics or Mathematical Literacy, though higher marks are always advantageous.
  3. History: This subject offers valuable insights into past legal systems, societal norms, and constitutional developments. It also improves students’ understanding of societal transformations and human rights issues. It’s recommended that students aim for a mark of 60% or more in History to demonstrate their aptitude in this area.
  4. Languages other than English: Studying an additional language can be beneficial for future lawyers, especially in a multilingual country like South Africa. Being multilingual can broaden your client base and improve your communication skills. A high proficiency in additional languages (ideally 60% or above) will stand students in good stead.
  5. Life Orientation: This subject includes a component of social and environmental responsibility and human rights, which aligns with some of the themes encountered in legal studies.
  6. Accounting or Business Studies: While not essential, these subjects can be beneficial, especially for those interested in corporate law or wanting to open their own practice in the future.

Students aiming to study law at the university level should aim to achieve an Admission to Bachelor’s degree pass in their National Senior Certificate. This means achieving 40% in three subjects (one of which must be a Home Language) and 30% in three other subjects. Universities might have additional admission requirements, so students should aim to achieve the highest possible marks in all their subjects. Remember, the higher your academic achievement in high school, the better your chances of being accepted into your preferred university and course.

See also  Does RAF Pay for the Death of a Child?

University Phase: Undergraduate Studies Modules for Law Degrees

The journey to becoming a lawyer begins in earnest at university, where prospective students need to complete an undergraduate LLB degree, which is a four-year program. Alternatively, students can first pursue a Bachelor’s degree in any field (usually for three years), followed by a two-year postgraduate LLB program. Subjects within these programs usually include:

  • Contract Law: Understanding the principles and elements of a contract, such as offer, acceptance, and consideration.
  • Criminal Law: The study of criminal behaviour, laws, punishment, and the criminal justice system.
  • Constitutional Law: This subject focuses on the Constitution of South Africa, a critical legal document that upholds the democratic values of the nation.
  • Civil Procedure: This subject provides knowledge about the processes involved in civil litigation.
  • Labour Law: Studying the rights and obligations of employees, employers, and trade unions.
  • Property Law: This includes the study of aspects like property rights, ownership, and tenancy.
  • Administrative Law: This involves the study of administrative decision-making and the principles of fairness, legality, and reasonableness.
  • International Law: This subject covers the legal norms, rules, and standards that govern interactions between sovereign states.
  • Tax Law: A study of taxation system, laws, and policies.

Practical Training for Law Studies

After completing their LLB, graduates must serve articles of clerkship for two years under the guidance of a practicing attorney or complete a one-year legal practice course. This practical training phase prepares students for the realities of the legal profession.

Admission Examination

To become fully-fledged lawyers, candidates must pass the Admission Examination set by the Legal Practice Council. This tests their practical competence and knowledge of four main areas: High Court Procedure, Magistrates’ Court Procedure, Ethics and Professional Responsibility, and Wills and Estates.

Becoming a lawyer in South Africa is indeed a rigorous process, requiring dedication, perseverance, and intellectual acuity. Although there are no strictly defined subjects needed at the matriculation level, the LLB degree provides a comprehensive education in law-related subjects. Ultimately, the journey involves not just academic study, but also practical training and the passing of a final examination to ensure the development of competent, ethical, and professional lawyers.


Watch: Things you should know before choosing Law

APS scores for Law Studies at South African Universities

  1. UJ APS score requirements for Law: Students must possess a National Senior Certificate (NSC) endorsed with admission to a bachelor’s degree and must have achieved a minimum Admissions Points Score (APS) of 27 (with Mathematics) or 28 (with Mathematical Literacy). The APS and the GES are based on the achievement rating of each subject as indicated above and are the sum of the achievement ratings of the seven school subjects, keeping in mind that the performance rating achieved for Life Orientation must be divided by two. Read more Here
  2. WITS APS score requirements for Law: For an LLB four-year degree course, you will need an APS score of 43+ :
    • English Home Language OR Additional First Language Level 6
    • Mathematics Level 5
    • Maths Literacy Level 6. Find out more here
  3. University of Fort Hare APS score requirements for Law: A minimum APS score of 29. Read more here
  4. UNISA APS score requirements for Law: From APS score of 20, according to UNISA standards. Click here to read more

Best South African Universities to Study for Law Degree in South Africa

Studying law in South Africa offers a plethora of options. Here are some of the best institutions where you can pursue a law degree.

University of Cape Town (UCT)

  • Description: Established in 1829, UCT is South Africa’s oldest university. It offers breathtaking views of Cape Town and is located on the slope of the famous Devil’s Peak.
  • Why It’s the Best: UCT has a stellar reputation and accommodates roughly 1,000 law students every year.
  • Law Courses Offered: LLB degree, BA Law, BCom Law

University of Witwatersrand

  • Description: Located in Johannesburg, this university has produced four Nobel Prize winners, including Nelson Mandela.
  • Why It’s the Best: Known for its rigorous academic programs and high entry requirements.
  • Law Courses Offered: LLB degree

University of Pretoria (UP)

  • Description: Founded in 1908, UP is situated in the administrative capital of South Africa.
  • Why It’s the Best: Known for producing leaders in government and offering a feel of law and order.
  • Law Courses Offered: Four-year LLB degree, BCom Law, BA Law

Stellenbosch University

  • Description: Located in the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University has the largest law library in the country.
  • Why It’s the Best: Known for its prominent law academics and extensive research facilities.
  • Law Courses Offered: LLB degree

University of Johannesburg

  • Description: Established in 2005, this university has quickly gained global recognition.
  • Why It’s the Best: Offers a variety of specializations including bankruptcy law, criminal justice, and tax law.
  • Law Courses Offered: LLB degree, BA Law, BCom Law

Who Are the Possible Employers for a Lawyer?

Lawyers have a wide range of employment opportunities, each offering different experiences and specializations. Here are some examples:

  • Law Firms: These are the most common employers, ranging from small boutique firms focusing on specific areas like family law to large, international firms covering multiple areas of law.
  • Government Agencies: Lawyers can work in various capacities for the government, such as public prosecutors or as legal advisors to different departments.
  • Non-Profit Organizations: Lawyers in NGOs often focus on human rights, environmental law, or social justice. For example, a lawyer might work for an organization that advocates for child welfare.
  • Corporate Legal Departments: Large corporations often have in-house legal departments where lawyers handle everything from contracts to intellectual property issues.
  • International Organizations: These include entities like the United Nations, where lawyers can work on international law issues, human rights, and diplomacy.
See also  Best Lawyers | Attorneys in All Fields around Queenstown Eastern Cape

Roles and Responsibilities of a Lawyer in South Africa?

In South Africa, lawyers have a multifaceted role that goes beyond just representing clients in court. Here are some of their key roles and responsibilities:

  • Providing Legal Advice: Lawyers often consult with clients to provide legal solutions to their problems. For example, a corporate lawyer may advise a company on the legal implications of a merger.
  • Representing Clients in Court: This is the most visible part of a lawyer’s job. Whether in criminal or civil cases, lawyers present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make legal arguments to defend their clients.
  • Drafting Legal Documents: Lawyers draft various legal documents like contracts, wills, and pleadings. For instance, a family lawyer may draft prenuptial agreements.
  • Conducting Legal Research: Before going to court, lawyers spend a significant amount of time researching previous cases, laws, and regulations that can strengthen their client’s case.
  • Negotiating Settlements: Not all cases go to court. Lawyers often negotiate settlements out of court to resolve issues quickly and less expensively.
  • Advocating for Clients: Lawyers use their expertise to advocate for their client’s rights, whether in court or through other legal processes.

Duties of a Lawyer to Society?

Lawyers play a crucial role in upholding the rule of law and ensuring justice in society. Here are some of their societal duties:

  • Upholding the Law: Lawyers are expected to have a thorough understanding of the law and to ensure that it is applied correctly.
  • Advocating for Justice: Lawyers often take up cases that have broader social implications, such as civil rights cases or public interest litigation, to bring about societal change.
  • Providing Pro Bono Services: Many lawyers offer free legal services to those who can’t afford them, often through legal aid clinics or by taking up cases that have a significant societal impact.
  • Ethical Responsibility: Lawyers are bound by a code of ethics and have a duty to act in the best interests of their clients, the court, and society at large. For example, a lawyer must maintain client confidentiality and must not mislead the court.

By understanding the roles, responsibilities, and societal duties of lawyers, one gains a comprehensive view of the legal profession in South Africa.

What Is the Role of a Lawyer in Court?

In a courtroom setting, a lawyer serves as the legal representative for their client, ensuring that their rights are protected and their voice is heard. Here’s a breakdown of their roles:

  • Presenting Evidence: Lawyers introduce evidence to support their client’s case. For example, in a criminal case, a defence lawyer may present an alibi or other evidence to prove their client’s innocence.
  • Cross-Examining Witnesses: Lawyers question witnesses to either support their client’s case or challenge the opposition’s claims. For instance, a prosecutor might cross-examine a defendant to expose inconsistencies in their story.
  • Making Legal Arguments: Lawyers use their knowledge of the law to make arguments that support their client’s position. They may reference past cases, legal statutes, or constitutional provisions.
  • Advising Clients: Lawyers consult with their clients throughout the trial, advising them on the best course of action and potential outcomes. For example, a lawyer might advise a client to accept a plea deal rather than go to trial.

Types of Law Degree Specializations?

Law degrees offer various specializations to cater to different interests and career paths. Some of these include:

  • Criminal Law: Focuses on laws related to crime and punishment. Lawyers may work as prosecutors or defence attorneys.
  • Family Law: Deals with issues like divorce, child custody, and alimony.
  • Corporate Law: Concerned with the legal aspects of running a business, including mergers, acquisitions, and corporate governance.
  • Intellectual Property Law: Focuses on protecting intellectual assets like patents, copyrights, and trademarks.
  • Environmental Law: Deals with laws that protect the environment, including regulations on pollution and conservation.
  • Human Rights Law: Focuses on issues related to human rights and social justice.

Law Specializations in Demand in South Africa?

Certain law specializations are particularly sought-after in South Africa due to various economic and social factors:

  • Corporate Law: With South Africa being a hub for various industries, corporate lawyers are in high demand to handle business-related legal matters.
  • Intellectual Property Law: As innovation and technology grow, the need for lawyers specializing in patents and copyrights is increasing.
  • Environmental Law: Given the rising concerns about climate change and environmental degradation, environmental lawyers are increasingly needed.

Emerging Areas of Law Profession?

As society evolves, new areas of law are emerging to address contemporary issues:

  • Cyber Law: With the rise of the internet and digital technologies, this area focuses on issues like data privacy and cybersecurity.
  • Data Protection Law: This specialization is becoming crucial as businesses and governments collect and store vast amounts of personal data.
  • Space Law: As space exploration becomes more commercialized, legal frameworks are needed to address issues like mineral rights on celestial bodies and the militarization of space.
See also  Best Lawyers | Attorneys in All Fields around Lebowakgomo Limpopo

Understanding these various roles, specializations, and emerging areas can help aspiring lawyers make informed decisions about their education and career paths.

Best Law Practice Areas for the Future?

The legal landscape is continuously evolving, and certain areas are poised for significant growth in the coming years:

  • Cyber Law: As cyber threats like hacking and data breaches become more prevalent, the demand for lawyers specializing in cyber law will likely increase. These lawyers will play a crucial role in advising companies on how to protect themselves legally in the digital age.
  • Environmental Law: With climate change and environmental degradation becoming pressing issues, environmental lawyers will be increasingly sought after. They will be instrumental in shaping policies and regulations aimed at sustainability and conservation.

Can I Study LLB After Higher Certificate in Law?

Yes, a Higher Certificate in Law can serve as an entry point for further legal studies, including an LLB degree. However, you may need to meet additional entry requirements, such as academic performance criteria or specific course prerequisites. Some institutions may even allow you to transfer some credits from your Higher Certificate towards your LLB, shortening the duration of the degree program.

What Jobs Can You Get with a Higher Certificate in Law?

A Higher Certificate in Law provides foundational knowledge that can open doors to various entry-level positions in the legal field:

  • Legal Assistant: Assist lawyers by conducting research, drafting documents, and organizing files.
  • Paralegal: Work closely with attorneys to prepare for trials, conduct interviews, and handle many of the tasks that don’t require a law degree.
  • Compliance Officer: Ensure that an organization is adhering to external laws and internal policies, often within a specific industry like healthcare or finance.
  • Administrative Roles: Many law firms and legal departments require administrative staff to handle tasks like scheduling, client communications, and basic bookkeeping.


What subjects do you need to study to be a lawyer?

So, you’re thinking about law, huh? To become a lawyer, you’ll need to focus on subjects like English, History, and a bit of Maths. English is super important because as a lawyer, you’ll need top-notch communication skills. History is great for understanding legal systems and improving your analytical skills. Maths is not a must, but it does help sharpen your logical thinking.

Which subject is best for lawyers?

Now, if you’re wondering which subject is best for lawyers, English takes the top spot. Why? Well, law involves a ton of reading, writing, and arguing your point. So, having strong English skills will really give you an edge in understanding complex legal texts and crafting persuasive arguments.

Do you need maths to study law?

Maths and law – not exactly a match made in heaven, right? But here’s the deal: you don’t necessarily need Maths to study law. However, having a good grasp of basic maths can be beneficial for areas like tax law or understanding financial documents.

Can I study law with Grade 10?

Thinking about law school but only got up to Grade 10? To study law at a university in South Africa, you’ll typically need to complete Matric (Grade 12). However, there are alternative routes like bridging courses or diploma programs that can eventually lead you to law studies.

Can you be a lawyer with maths lit?

Maths Lit and law – can they coexist? Absolutely! You can definitely pursue a career in law even if you took Maths Lit in school. As long as you meet the university entry requirements and have strong skills in other relevant subjects, you’re good to go.

How many years does a lawyer study?

Alright, let’s talk timelines. To become a lawyer, you’ll spend about four years on your Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree. If you already have an undergrad degree in another field, you can do an LLB in two years. So, gear up for a good chunk of time hitting those law books!

How much does a lawyer earn per month?

Talking about the green – lawyers in South Africa have a pretty wide salary range depending on experience, location, and specialization. On average, a lawyer can earn anywhere from R20,000 to R60,000 per month. Just starting out? Expect to be on the lower end of that scale.

Which type of lawyer gets paid the most in South Africa?

In the land of law, some fields definitely pay more. In South Africa, corporate lawyers and those specializing in patent law or intellectual property often have the highest earnings. These areas demand specialized knowledge, and businesses are willing to pay top dollar for that expertise.

Which university can I study law in South Africa?

South Africa is home to some great law schools. Top picks include University of Cape Town (UCT), University of Pretoria, and University of Witwatersrand (Wits). These universities have well-respected law faculties with a range of legal specialties to dive into.

Do I need a matric to study law?

Yes, you typically need Matric to dive into law studies at a South African university. It’s like the golden ticket to get into most undergrad programs, including law. But, if you’re missing it, look into bridging courses or diploma programs that might open other doors for you.

Which university should I go for law?

Choosing the right university for law? It’s all about fit. UCT, Wits, and University of Pretoria are often top choices. But remember, the best university for you depends on factors like the specific law area you’re interested in, campus culture, and your personal circumstances.

How much is law school in SA?

Now, the cost of law school in SA can vary. On average, you’re looking at tuition fees ranging from R30,000 to R60,000 per year. It’s a decent investment, so make sure to check out scholarships, bursaries, and financial aid options to ease the burden.