SOAS University of London

School of Law

Law and Development in Africa

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Full Year

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of this module, students should be familiar with a range of English-language scholarship on the subject, have a clear understanding of the debates surrounding the question of law and development in Africa generally, and, consequently, should be able to:

  • Understand the different theories of Law and Development in the context of Africa;
  • Analyse the indices of socio-economic growth and explore the role of law as an instrument of social engineering in Africa;
  • Demonstrate an appreciation of the parameters of Law and Development and their inter-connections in overcoming the challenges of development in different African countries;
  • Undertake further critical research on the relationship between law, development and society and what contribution legal theory and institutions can make towards the quest for socio-economic development in Africa.


  • Weekly 2 hour lecture

Method of assessment

  • Coursework: 50% (4000 words)
  • Unseen written exam: 50%

Suggested reading

  • Baderin, M.A., Law and Development in Africa: Towards a New Approach (NIALS, 2010).
  • Trebilock, M.J, and Prado, M.M., Advanced Introduction to Law and Development (Elgar, 2014).
  • Adejumobi, S., and Olukoshi, A., (eds.) The African Union and New Strategies for Development in Africa (Cambria, 2008).
  • Seidman, A., et al. (eds.) Africa’s Challenge: Using Law for Good Governance and Development (Africa World, 2007).
  • Hallward-Driemeier, M and Hasan, T., Empowering Women: Legal Rights and Economic Opportunities in Africa (The World Bank, 2013).
  • Moss, T.J. and Resnick, D., African Development: Making Sense of the Issue and Actors, 3rd Revised 2nd Ed (Lynne Rienner, 2018).
  • Gumede, V., Inclusive Development In Africa: Transformation of Global Relations (AISA; CODESRIA, 2018).
  • Adelman, S., and Paliwala, A., The Limits of Law and Development: Neoliberalism, Governance and Social Justice (Routledge, 2021).


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules