Law and Development in Africa

Key information

Start date
End date
Year of study
Year 1
Module code
FHEQ Level
School of Law, Gender and Media

Module overview

This module aims at conceptualising a new law and development initiative for Africa by critically engaging with the traditional “law and development movement” and identifying its methodological shortcomings with respect to Africa. It examines the scope and limitations of law as an instrument of development and explores what contributions law, legal theory and legal institutions can make towards the realisation of human, economic and socio-political development in Africa.

The module has a comparative approach, examining national, regional and international perspectives of highlighted issues within an African context.

Objectives and learning outcomes

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 seminar

Method of assessment

  • Essay: 60% (4000 words)
  • Podcast: 20%
  • Group presentation: 20%

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.