Prof Christina Murray
BA LLB (Stellenbosch) LLM (Michigan)
Christina Murray is Professor Emeritus at the University of Cape Town. She is a South African, educated at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Michigan. The early part of her career was university-based where she combined teaching and research (primarily constitutional law, human rights law, gender and international law) and activism (focused on human rights and women’s rights). Since 1992, she has combined academic and practical work on matters relating to constitutionalism, the rule of law, human rights, gender, and democratic transitions. She teaches annually at the Central European University summer school in the course on Constitution-building in Africa. From 2007 to 2014 she was President of the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers and a Vice President of the International Association of Constitutional Law. Between 2001 and 2009 she was an alternate member of the South African Judicial Service Commission
In 1994, Christina was elected by the South African Constitutional Assembly to serve on the seven-member Panel of Experts established to advise it. In that capacity she was also a member of the smaller ‘technical refinement team’ responsible for the language of the South African Constitution. She served on the bodies established to prepare draft constitutions in Kenya in 2009 – 2010 (as a member of the Committee of Experts) and in Fiji in 2012 (as a member of the Constitution Commission). Since then, most of her work has focused on constitutional design and the design of constitution-making processes. Among other things, in 2014 she spent 6 months working with the Yemen Constitution Drafting Commission, and since 2014, working as a member of the Mediation Support Standby Team in the Department of Political and Peacemaking Affairs at the UN, she has supported and advised constitution-makers, civil society activists and UN officials in Armenia, Sudan, South Sudan, Tuvalu, Somalia, Chile, Papua New Guinea (on the Bougainville issue), Guinea Bissau, Myanmar, Libya, Cyprus and the Caribbean among other places.
Between 1995 and 2004, she was Director of the Law, Race and Gender Research Unit (LRG) at the University of Cape Town which she co-founded with Kate O’Regan in 1993. LRG’s focus was on the South African lower courts during the transition from apartheid.
Her work has included academic research, reports for government and other institutions, and briefing documents (including guidance notes, explanations of constitutional ideas, etc) for constitution-makers and civil society. This work primarily covered issues relating to constitutionalism and the rule of law including human rights, international norms, traditional leadership, women and gender, matters of constitutional design (executive power, legislatures, rights, the judiciary, federalism and multilevel government, and fiscal federalism) and constitution-making processes. Her main interests at the moment are on the judiciary in transitions to democracy, unconstitutional changes of government and, more broadly, on the role that constitutional issues and constitutional decisions can (and can’t) play in political transitions.