Biography

Kate O'Regan is the inaugural Director of the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights and a former judge of the South African Constitutional Court (1994 – 2009). In the mid-1980s she practiced as a lawyer in Johannesburg in a variety of fields, but especially labour law and land law, representing many of the emerging trade unions and their members, as well as communities threatened with eviction under apartheid land laws.  In 1990, she joined the Faculty of Law at UCT where she taught a range of courses including race, gender and the law, labour law, civil procedure and evidence. Since her fifteen-year term at the South African Constitutional Court ended in 2009,  she has amongst other things served as an ad hoc judge of the Supreme Court of Namibia (from 2010 - 2016), Chairperson of the Khayelitsha Commission of Inquiry into allegations of police inefficiency and a breakdown in trust between the police and the community of Khayelitsha (2012 – 2014), and as a member of the boards or advisory bodies of many NGOs working in the fields of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and equality.

Publications

Recent additions

  • C O'Regan, 'Contemporary challenges for human rights: a view from South Africa' in Simon Mount and Max Harris (eds), The Promise of Law: Essays marking the retirement of Dame Sian Elias as Chief Justice of New Zealand (LexisNexis 2020)
    ISBN: 9781988546070
  • C O'Regan, 'Prosecutions and Politics in a Constitutional State: Prosecution of Heads of State in post-apartheid South Africa' in Andras Sajo and Renata Uitz (eds), Critical Essays on Human Rights Criticism (Boomuitgevers 2020)
    ISBN: 978-94-6236-123-2

Chapter (9)

C O'Regan, 'Contemporary challenges for human rights: a view from South Africa' in Simon Mount and Max Harris (eds), The Promise of Law: Essays marking the retirement of Dame Sian Elias as Chief Justice of New Zealand (LexisNexis 2020)
ISBN: 9781988546070
C O'Regan, 'Prosecutions and Politics in a Constitutional State: Prosecution of Heads of State in post-apartheid South Africa' in Andras Sajo and Renata Uitz (eds), Critical Essays on Human Rights Criticism (Boomuitgevers 2020)
ISBN: 978-94-6236-123-2
C O'Regan, 'La promesa de las Constituciones: una reflexion desde Sudáfrica' in Roberto O. Niembro, Sergio Verdugo (ed), La Justicia Constitucional en Tiempos de Cambio (Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación, Mexico 2019)
ISBN: 978-607-552-131-2
C O'Regan and Madhav Khosla, 'Equality in Asia' in Tom Ginsburg and Rosalind Dixon (eds), Comparative Constitutional Law in Asia (Edward Elgar 2014)
ISBN: 978 1 78100 269 8
C O'Regan and Nick Friedman, 'Equality' in Tom Ginsburg and Rosalind Dixon (eds), Comparative Constitutional Law (Edward Elgar 2011)
ISBN: 978 1 84844 539 0
C O'Regan and Edwin Cameron, 'Judges, Bias and Recusal in South Africa ' in H P Lee (ed), Judiciaries in Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2011)
ISBN: 978-0-521-19060-2
C O'Regan, '"Addressing the Legacy of the Past: Equality in the South African Constitution"' in Titia Loenen and Peter Rodrigues (eds), Non-Discrimination Law: Comparative Perspectives (Kluwer Law International 1999)
ISBN: 90-411-1063-1
Christina Murray and C O'Regan, '"Putting Women into the Constitution"' in Susan Bazilli (ed), Putting Women on the Agenda (Ravan Press 1991)
ISBN: 086975422X

Journal Article (19)

C O'Regan, 'Political Parties: The Missing Link in our Constitution?' (2018) 1 South African Judicial Education Journal 61
ISBN: 2616-7999
C O'Regan, 'The Universal Declaration of Human rights at 70: A time to look back, and a time to look forward' (2018) 6 Journal of the British Academy
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5871/jba/006.259
Anxiety about the future of democracy and human rights is widespread. To provide a framework within which to assess that anxiety, this article explores the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted seventy years ago by the General Assembly. The article outlines the traditional, rather whiggish, account of that history, which asserts that the project of proclaiming and protecting human rights in international law has seen steady improvement and expansion since 1948. The article argues that this account is at least partly misleading and that the history of the international human rights project since 1948 has been more complex, contingent and uneven. The article concludes by suggesting that recognising that the history of the international human rights project has been beset by difficulties and uncertainties may make it easier both to assess—and respond to—contemporary challenges.
ISBN: 2052-7217 Anxiety about the future of democracy and human rights is widespread. To provide a framework within which to assess that anxiety, this article explores the history of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted seventy years ago
C O'Regan, 'A Tribute to Justice Dikgang Moseneke' [2017] Acta Juridica 273
ISBN: 0065-1346
C O'Regan, 'Fidelity to Law: How Bram Fischer illuminates a perennial debate' (2017) Oxford University Commonwealth Law Journal 1
C O'Regan, 'Tradition and Modernity: Adjudicating a Constitutional Paradox' (2014) Constitutional Court Review 105
ISBN: 2073-6215
C O'Regan, '"The right to equality in the South African Constitution" Symposium in Honour of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg' (2013) Columbia Journal of Gender and the Law
ISBN: 1062-6220
C O'Regan, '"A Forum for Reason: Reflections on the Role and Work of the Constitutional Court"' (2012) South African Journal on Human Rights
ISBN: 0258-7203
C O'Regan, '"Text Matters: Some Reflections on the Forging of a new Constitutional Jurisprudence in South Africa"' (2012) Modern Law Review 1
ISBN: 1468-2230
C O'Regan, '"Breaking Ground: Some thoughts on the seismic shift in our administrative law"' (2004) 121 South African Law Journal 424
ISBN: 0258-2503
C O'Regan, '"The three R's of the Constitution: Responsibility, Respect and Rights"' (2004) Acta Jurídica 86
ISBN: 07021 6737 1
C O'Regan, 'Cultivating a Constitution: Challenges facing the Constitutional Court' (2000) Dublin University Law Journal 1
ISBN: 0332-3250
C O'Regan, '"Equality in Employment and the Limits of the Law: Symmetry and Individualism in Anti-Discrimination Law' (1994) Acta Jurídica 64
ISBN: 0 7021 3315 9
C O'Regan, 'Rules for Rule-making: Administrative Law and Subordinate Decision-Making' (1993) Acta Jurídica
ISBN: 0 7021 3047 8
C O'Regan, '"Contempt of Court and the Enforcement of Labour Injunctions"' (1991) Modern Law Review 385
ISBN: 1468-2230
C O'Regan, 'Workers' Participation in Corporate Decision-making' (1991) Acta Jurídica 113
ISBN: 0 7021 2638 1
C O'Regan, '"No more forced removals? An historical analysis of the Prevention of Illegal Squatting Act' (1989) South African Journal on Human Rights 361
ISBN: 0258-7203
C O'Regan, '"The development of private labour arbitration in South Africa: a review of the awards"' (1989) Industrial Law Journal (South Africa) 557
ISBN: 0258-249X
C O'Regan, 'Interdicts Restraining Strike Action -- The Implications of the Labour Relations Amendment Act 1988' (1988) Industrial Law Journal (South Africa) 959
ISBN: 0258-249X

Report (1)

Hugh Corder, Steve Kahanovitz, John Murphy and C O'Regan, A Charter for Social Justice: A contribution to the South African Bill of Rights Debate (Department of Public Law, University of Cape Town 1992)
A draft Bill of Rights for post-apartheid South Africa drafted by a group of lawyers, both practicing and academic, with commentary on the draft Bills of Rights proposed by the African National Congress and the South African Law Commission.
ISBN: 079921440X

Edited Book (1)

Christina Murray and C O'Regan (eds), No Place to Rest: Forced Removals and the Law in South Africa (Oxford University Press 1990)
Between 1950 and 1985 more than 3.5 million South Africans were moved forcibly from their homes to further the policy of apartheid. This book contains a series of articles written by leading South African lawyers, both practitioners and academics, analysing the law under which these removals took place, as well as the litigation that was undertaken to resist these removals.
ISBN: 0195705807

Events organised by Kate O'Regan

Past events

23 Mar 2021

Tuesday - 2:00PM

A Theory of Media Freedom - Annual Eric Barendt Law Lecture

Speaker

Damian Tambini

Speaker Affiliation

LSE

Venue

Zoom Webinar - pre-registration required

09 Mar 2021

Tuesday - 12:30PM

From Compliance Partners to Gatekeepers? The Role of Domestic Courts in Interpreting and Enforcing IHRL

Bonavero Discussion Group

Speaker

Raffaela Kunz

Speaker Affiliation

Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law

Venue

Zoom Webinar

02 Mar 2021

Tuesday - 12:30PM

Religion is Secularised Tradition: Jewish and Muslim Circumcisions in Germany

Bonavero Discussion Group

Speaker

Professor Lena Salaymeh

Speaker Affiliation

University of Oxford

Venue

Zoom Webinar

23 Feb 2021

Tuesday - 12:30PM

The UN Human Rights Committee’s General Comment 37 on the Right of Peaceful Assembly: A Conversation

Bonavero Discussion Group

Speaker

Christof Heyns; Marko Milanovic

Speaker Affiliation

United Nations Human Rights Committee; University of Nottingham

Venue

Zoom Webinar

22 Feb 2021

Monday - 5:00PM

Panel Discussion: Modern Slavery

Speaker

Dame Sara Thornton; Prof Siddharth Kara; Kate Garbers; Samantha Knights QC

Speaker Affiliation

Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner; University of Nottingham; University of Nottingham; Matrix Chambers

Venue

Zoom Webinar

09 Feb 2021

Tuesday - 12:30PM

Academic Freedom as a Human Right?

Bonavero Discussion Group

Speaker

Renáta Uitz

Speaker Affiliation

Central European University

Venue

Zoom Webinar

08 Feb 2021

Monday - 5:00PM

Panel Discussion: Immigration & Empire

Speaker

Wendy Williams; Prof Alex Balch; Prof Fareda Banda; Samantha Knights QC

Speaker Affiliation

HMICFRS; University of Liverpool; SOAS University of London; Matrix Chambers

Venue

Zoom Webinar

03 Feb 2021

Wednesday - 5:00PM

Anti-Discrimination Law in Civil Law Jurisdictions - A Successful Transplant?

Speaker

Barbara Havelková; Mathias Möschel; Kate O'Regan; Sandra Fredman; Colm O’Cinneide; Helen Mountfield QC

Speaker Affiliation

University of Oxford; Central European University; University of Oxford; University of Oxford; University College London; University of Oxford

Venue

Zoom Webinar

02 Feb 2021

Tuesday - 12:30PM

Challenging Laws: Progress and Prospects in Overturning 150 Years of Discriminatory Sexual Offence Legislation in the Commonwealth

Bonavero Discussion Group

Speaker

Téa Braun

Speaker Affiliation

Human Dignity Trust

Venue

Zoom Webinar

26 Jan 2021

Tuesday - 12:30PM

‘A Pound of Flesh…but no Jot of Blood’: The Implicit International Law Prohibition of Citizenship Stripping as a National Security Measure

Bonavero Discussion Group

Speaker

Amal de Chickera

Speaker Affiliation

Institute on Statelessness and Inclusion

Venue

Zoom Webinar

Research projects