University of Leicester eBulletin

Judge Albie Sachs to Speak at University

February 2003
No 56

Most recently in the news as the Judge who turned down the England and Wales Cricket Board’s appeal to move their World Cup match from Zimbabwe, Judge Albie Sachs of the South African Constitutional Court will be giving a British Academy lecture at the University of Leicester on Tuesday, 4 March, 2003.

Never one to shirk a difficult issue, Judge Albie Sachs’ talk, for which tickets are free, will be entitled: Constitutional Protection for Awkward Religious Practices: From Child Beating to Imbibing Marijuana.

Earlier in the day he will also give a seminar on: Mothers and Fathers, Gays and Lesbians:  The Right to Be the Same and the Right to Be Different.

Professor Erika Szyszczak of the University of Leicester Faculty of Law said: “We feel very honoured that Albie Sachs included this University in his prestigious British Academy Lecture Tour.”

South African born Albie Sachs attended the University of Cape Town before practising as an Advocate at the Cape Town Bar, working mainly in civil rights. Twice detained by the security police, in 1966 he fled to England, where he pursued an academic career until 1977, when he became Professor of Law at the Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique.

From 1983 he was Director of Research in the Ministry of Justice, while continuing his support for the South African ANC party. After losing an arm and eye in a car bomb assassination attempt he returned to England in 1988.  The following year he became Professor at Columbia University, New York, and was founding Director of the South Africa Constitution Studies Centre based at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London. When the Centre moved to the University of the Western Cape in 1992 he went with it and became Professor Extraordinary, as well as Honorary Professor in the Law Faculty at the University of Cape Town.  

Before being appointed to the South African Constitutional Court, Judge Albie Sachs took an active role in establishing the new South African Constitution. He has published many books on human rights, is a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee and has helped draft the International Declaration on the Human Genome.

A book he wrote on his experiences in a South African prison, The Jail Diary of Albie Sachs, was turned into a play by David Edgar, staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1979. A second autobiographical book, The Soft Vengeance of a Freedom Fighter, which deals with his recovery form the car bomb and appointment to the Constitutional Court, is being dramatised for a film.

Judge Albie Sachs will give the University of Leicester Department of Law British Academy Lecture on Tuesday, 4 March, 2003 at 5.30 pm in Lecture Theatre 3 of the University’s Ken Edwards Building, on the main campus. Seating capacity is limited and entrance is by ticket, available from Mrs Dorothy Tomlinson on

NOTE TO EDITORS:   Judge Albie Sachs will be available for interview during the morning of 4 March. Further information is available from Professor Erika Szyszczak, University of Leicester Department of Law, telephone 0116 252 2368, fax 0116 252 5023, email
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Last updated: February 2003
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