Skip to content
Centre for Foreign and Comparative Law


IFCOL undertakes basic and applied research and offers legal translation services in selected languages.

Basic Research

Basic research should enhance foundational knowledge on a topic and create a basis for the application of such knowledge. At IFCOL, basic research is driven by a need to expand knowledge and anticipate developments in its areas of specialization (private international law, public international law and comparative law) so as to apply such knowledge in commissioned research. The content of IFCOL's commissioned research is therefore a guiding factor in the identification and continuation of its basic research projects.

Past and ongoing research projects include the following:

  • Recent Developments in Foreign Family, Succession and Business Laws
  • Harmonization and Unification of Private International Law in Southern Africa
  • Establishment of Free Trade Zones in Southern Africa
  • Anti-Corruption Measures: A Comparative Survey of Selected National and International Programmes
  • Foreign Investment Laws and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Comparative African Constitutional Law
  • Law of Portuguese-speaking Africa
  • Transitional Justice: The Criminal Justice System in Periods of Democratic Transition
  • Comparative Research on the Rights of People with Disabilities
  • Socio-Economic Rights and Developing Economies
  • The Recognition and Enforcement of foreign Money Judgments

Applied Research

IFCOL undertakes applied research in its areas of specialization and provides legal translations on a fee-for-service basis.

IFCOL's applied research is focused on solving, or making recommendations on, specific legal problems. IFCOL's main client base is drawn from the attorney's profession, but during the past decade the Institute has also rendered services to government departments, commissions, statutory corporations, judges, university law clinics, private companies and occasionally, private individuals.

The bulk of IFCOL's commissioned work relates to private international and foreign law on marriage and the family, particularly as regards matrimonial property. However, IFCOL has also undertaken applied research in the fields of succession, contract, civil procedure and international treaty law. Since 1995 alone, IFCOL staff have dealt with the laws of 57 states. Requests most frequently arise in respect of the laws of Germany, the Netherlands, England, Italy, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Austria, Israel, Scotland and Israel. However, the total number of states represented in IFCOL's databank of precedents is close to 200.

IFCOL charges a minimum standard rate of R1000.00 per hour (+14% VAT) for a written opinion. The Institute ensures absolute confidentiality and the highest standard of service.

Translation Services

IFCOL staff can also provide sworn translations of legal texts in German, French, and Portuguese into English and vice versa. Fees applicable for legal translations are as follows:

  • German  R75.00 per 100 words (+14% VAT)
  • French  R75.00 per 100 words (+14% VAT)
  • Portuguese  R75.00 per 100 words (+14% VAT)

Requests for written opinions or legal translations can be submitted to IFCOL in writing.