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Law Library Guide

This guide is intended to aid your understanding and ability to conduct legal research. This will allow you to quickly and effectively answer legal problems, incorporating the newest sources.

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Antiquarian Collection

Ius commune book cover of Law of the Seas by Hugo Grotius published 1633
The UCT Law Library houses the Brand van Zyl Collection which was presented to the University Library by the Rt Hon G. Brand van Zyl in June 1949. It comprises legal works collected by his father Dr C.H. van Zyl and himself over a period of 70 years. Additions to the Collection are made by virtue of a bequest received for this purpose from the estate of the late Mrs M.E.C. van Zyl. This valuable collection now consists of about 2,500 volumes chiefly on Roman-Dutch Law, including many 17th- and 18th-century legal works. The books are available for use in the Library only, and are kept in a special seminar room.

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About the Library

The Brand van Zyl Law Library serves the Faculty of Law and has one of the best legal collections in Africa.

History of Brand van Zyl Law Library

The Brand van Zyl Law Library is named after the Right Honourable Major Gideon Brand van Zyl (1873-1956), Governor General of the Union of South Africa from 1946 to 1950, who donated his family’s library to the University of Cape Town in 1949. The Law Library became a separate branch library of the UCT Libraries system in 1962.

At that time, the Library was situated on the University’s Orange Street campus in central Cape Town. The Library moved to the University’s upper campus on the slopes of Devil’s Peak in the 1970s, before moving down the hill to its current location on the middle campus in July 2000. At present, we are on the two lowest floors of the Wilfred and Jules Kramer Law School Building. Learn more