Penelope Andrews

Professor of Law
Co-Director, Racial Justice Project

Penelope Andrews

Professor of Law
Co-Director, Racial Justice Project

Curriculum Vitae

Penelope Andrews joined NYLS in January 2019 and teaches comparative and international law courses. She also serves as Co-Director of NYLS’s Racial Justice Project, focusing on international and South African issues.

Professor Andrews was the 2018–19 Sabbatical Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia Law School. She previously completed two terms as Dean: From 2016 to 2018 as the first Black dean at the University of Cape Town Faculty of Law, and from 2012 to 2015 as the first female dean of Albany Law School in New York. She was previously the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law and Director of International Programs at Valparaiso Law School.

She began her teaching career at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, where she taught for eight years before moving to CUNY, where she was on the faculty for 15 years, teaching public international law, gender and law, race and law, comparative law, torts, and lawyering. She has also held visiting appointments at several law schools in the U.S. and internationally, including in South Africa, Canada and Australia. Professor Andrews received her B.A. and. LL.B. degrees from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (formerly University of Natal) in South Africa and an LL.M. from Columbia Law School.

Professor Andrews is active in international collaborative research and mentoring networks and is particularly committed to ensuring the relevance of law and society scholarship to academic communities in the global south and global north. She is an editor of the International Journal of Law in Context, the Human Rights and the Global Economy E-Journal, and the African Law E-Journal.

She has also published several books and articles that focus on comparative constitutional law, gender and racial equality, human rights—particularly the tension between respect for indigenous law and implementing broader human rights norms—the judiciary, and legal education. Her book From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women’s Human Rights was published in 2012. She publishes regularly in the popular media and on social media, focusing on issues of race, poverty, legal education, public interest litigation, and the ongoing challenges of transforming an economically unequal and racially divided society.

Professor Andrews’s focus on the judiciary in South Africa seeks to bridge the divide between theory and practice. She is a trainer for the Judicial Institute for Africa, focusing on opinion writing and communications skills for new and experienced judges. She also served as an Acting Judge of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria for the 2018 third term, presiding over criminal appeals, motion court, and civil trials. She has served as an arbitrator in hearings on racial discrimination in South Africa.

She has served on significant law school committees and the boards of public interest and human rights organizations, including the Africa Section of Human Rights Watch, South Africa Partners, the Legal Resources Center, and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice. Professor Andrews has received many awards for her work, including, in 2015, the National Bar Association’s International Award for her global human rights advocacy. In recognition of her human rights work, the University of KwaZulu-Natal provides an annual award in her name.

She will start her two-year term as the President of the Law and Society Association in June 2019.

Visit Professor Andrews’s SSRN Author Page.


From Cape Town to Kabul: Reconsidering Women’s Human Rights (2012).

Law and Rights: Global Perspectives on Constitutionalism and Governance (co-edited with Susan Bazilli, 2008).

The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Perspectives on South Africa’s Basic Laws (co-edited with Stephen Ellmann, 2001).

Gender, Race and Comparative Advantage: A Cross-National Assessment of Programs of Compensatory Discrimination (Editor, 1999. Converted volume of Law in Context).

Chapters in Books, Law Reviews, and Journal Articles

“Race, Inclusiveness and Transformation of Legal Education in South Africa” in Constitutional Triumphs, Constitutional Disappointments (Rosalind Dixon and Theunis Roux eds. 2017) 223.

“Justice, Reconciliation and the Masculinist Way: What Role for Women in Truth Commissions?” in New York Law School Law Review (2015–16).

“A Champion for African Freedom: Paul Robeson and the Struggle Against Apartheid” in Albany Law Review (2014).

“A Tribute to the Honorable Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick” in Albany Law Review (2012–13).

“Law and Society” in Encyclopedia of South Africa (Krista Johnson and Sean Jacobs eds. 2011).

“Without Fear, Favor or Prejudice: Judicial Transformation and the Independence of the Judiciary in South Africa” in Law and Social Movements (Scott Cummings ed. 2010).

“The Judiciary in South Africa: Independence or Illusion?” in Judicial Independence in Context (Adam Dodek & Lorne Sossin eds. 2010).

“Who’s Afraid of Polygamy? Exploring the Boundaries of Family, Equality and Custom in South Africa” 2009 University of Utah Law Review, No. 2.

“Imagine All the Women: Power, Gender, and the Transformative Possibilities of the South African Constitution,” in Power, Gender, and Social Change in Africa and the Diaspora (Muna Ndulo ed. 2009).

“South Africa,” in Encyclopedia of Human Rights (David P. Forsyth ed. 2009).

“Incorporating International Human Rights Law in National Constitutions: The South African Experience, in Progress” in International Organizations (Rebecca Bratspies and Russell Miller eds. 2008).

“’Democracy Stops at My Front Door’: Obstacles to Gender Equality in South Africa” in Loyola Chicago Journal of International Law (2007).

“Big Love: The Recognition of Customary Marriages,” in South Africa Washington and Lee Law Review (2007).

“Learning to Love After Learning to Harm: Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Gender Equality and Cultural Values,” in Michigan State Journal of International Law (2007).

“The South African Constitution as a Mechanism for Redressing Poverty,” in Democratic Reform in Africa: Its Impact on Governance and Poverty Alleviation (Muna Ndulo ed. 2006).

“The South African Judicial Appointments Process,” Osgood Hall Law Journal (2006).

“Some Middle-Aged Spread, A Few Mood Swings and Growing Exhaustion: The Human Rights Movement at Middle Age,” University of Tulsa Review (2006).

“Perspectives on Brown: The South African Experience” in New York Law School Law Review (2004-2005).

Reparations for Apartheid’s Victims: The Path to Reconciliation? De Paul Law Review (2004).

“Transitional Perspectives on Women’s Rights,” Interights Bulletin (2004).

“The South African Bill of Rights: Lessons for Australia” in Comparative Perspectives on Bills of Rights (Christine Debono and Tania Colwell eds. 2004).

“Two ‘Colored’ Women’s Conversation About the Relevance of Feminist Law Journals” in the 21st Century Columbia Journal of Gender and Law (co-author Taunya Banks, 2003).

Critical Challenges: A Conversation on Complicity and Civility in Legal Education,” Seattle Journal of Social Justice (co-authors Sharon Hom and Ruthann Robson, 2003).

“Women’s Human Rights and the Conversation Across Cultures” in Albany Law Review (2003).

“Evaluating the Progress of Women’s Rights on the Fifth Anniversary of the South African Constitution” in Vermont Law Review (2002).

“From Gender Apartheid to Non-Sexism: The Pursuit of Women’s Rights in South Africa,” in North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation (2001).

“Aboriginal Women in Australia and Human Rights” in Women and International Human Rights Rights Law, Vol. 3 (Kelly D. Askin and Doreanne M. Koenig eds. 2001).

“The Step-Child of National Liberation: Women and Rights in the New South Africa” in The Post-Apartheid Constitutions: Reflections on South Africa’s Basic Law (Co-authored with Stephen Ellmann, 2001).

“Violence Against Aboriginal Women in Australia: Redress from the International Human Rights Framework” in Global Critical Race Feminism: An International Reader (Adrien Wing ed. 2000) (reprint from Albany Law Review).

“Personal Narrative” in Dear Sisters, Dear Daughters: Words of Wisdom From Multicultural Women Attorneys Who’ve Been There and Done That, Multicultural Women Attorneys Network, American Bar Association (Karen Clanton, ed. 2000).

“Making Room for Critical Race Theory in International Law: Some Practical Pointers” in Villanova Law Review (2000).

“Globalization, Human Rights and Critical Race Feminism: Voices from the Margins” in Journal of Gender, Race and Justice (2000).

Review Essay: David Dyzenhaus, “Judging the Judges: Judging Ourselves, A Grand Exercise in Forgiveness of Justice Held Hostage to Truth: South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission” in Melbourne University Law Review (2000).

“The Constitutional Court Provides Succor for Victims of Domestic Violence: S v. Baloyi” in South African Journal of Human Rights (2000).

“Violence Against Women in South Africa: The Role of Culture and the Limitations of the Law” in Temple Civil and Political Rights Law Review Vol. 2 (1999).

“Affirmative Action in South Africa: Transformation or Tokenism” in Gender Race and Comparative Advantage: A Cross-National Assessment of Programs of compensatory Discrimination (Penelope E. Andrews ed. 1999).

Striking the Rock: Confronting Gender Equality in South Africa in Michigan Journal of Race and Law (1998).

“Violence Against Aboriginal Women in Australia: Redress from the International Human Rights Framework 60 Albany Law Review (1997).

“A Resource for Justice: South Africa’s Legal Resources Centre East Africa” in Journal of Peace and Human Rights No. 1 (1995).

“Affirmative Action in South Africa: Some Theoretical and Practical Issues” in The Constitution of South Africa From a Gender Perspective (Sandra Liebenberg ed. 1995).

“Spectators at the Revolution: Gender Equality” in A Post-Apartheid South Africa, Law and Anthropology: International Yearbook For Legal Anthropology (1994).

“The Sense of Belonging” in No Fear of Flying (Jocelynne A. Scutt ed.1993).

“Aborigines and the Law” (with Geoff Eames QC) in Civil Liberties in Australia, Victorian Council for Civil Liberties (1991).

“Freedom from Discrimination” in Human Rights for South Africans (M. Robertson ed. 1990).

“Justice in a Post-Apartheid South Africa” in Legal Services Bulletin No. 3 (June 1990).

“Some Observations about Lawyering for the Poor in a Changing South Africa” in African Studies Association of Australia and the Pacific Newsletter No. 1 (June 1990).

“Legal Education in a Changing South Africa” in African Law Review No. 5 (March 1990).

“A Small, Sweet Victory” in Legal Services Bulletin No. 5 (October 1989).

“Autonomy and the Miskito Indian Community of Nicaragua” in Aboriginal Law Bulletin No. 32 (June 1988).

“Racial Discrimination and the Law” in Discrimination: The Law, the Media and Education, Seminar Proceedings, Victorians for Racial Equality (September 1987).

“Inside South Africa – The Players and Their role in Social Change: The Labor Unions” in South Africa: Prospects for Peace and Security, International Peace Academy (1987). (Proceedings of Conference on Peace and Security in Southern Africa, Arusha, Tanzania, March 1986).

“Apartheid: The Legal Death of the Black Worker” in Human Rights No. 2 (Spring 1987).

“The Legal Underpinnings of Gender Oppression in Apartheid South Africa” in Australian Journal of Law and Society (June 1986).

“Corporate Codes of Conduct Under Apartheid: An Assessment” in Trans Africa Forum No. 3 (Spring 1986).


Editors’ Introduction (with Dennis Davis and Tabeth Masengu): “A Warrior for Justice: Essays in Honor of Justice Dikgang Moseneke” in Acta Juridica (2017).

Editor’s Introduction (Special Issue for Martin Chanock): “Essays on Law and Society” in Law in Context Vol. 2 (2010).

Editor’s Introduction: “Feminist Advocacy, Constitutions and Law” in International Review of Constitutionalism, Vol. 2 (2009).

Editor’s Introduction (with Frank Munger): “Law, Poverty and Economic Inequality” in International Review of Constitutionalism, Vol. 1 (2009).

Guest Editor’s Introduction: “Reconstruction and Reparations in International Law” in Third World Legal Studies (2002–03).

Guest Editor’s Introduction: “Women’s Rights and Traditional Law: A Conflict?” Third World Legal Studies (1994–95).

Editorial Pieces (2016–18)

Why to NPA Must Act Now On Revelations to Zondo Commission

South Africa’s Historic Silicosis Class Action: Why the Settlement Matters

Jail Time For South African Woman Using Racist Slur Sets New Precedent

The Deaths of 144 Mental Health Patients and South Africa’s Constitutional Democracy

Why It’s Taken So Long To Prosecute State Capture Cases in South Africa

Che’s Challenge an Opportunity Not a Crisis For UCT Faculty

Despair and Depression at Law School Are Real, And Need Attention

South Africa’s Problems Lie in Political Negligence Not Its Constitution

UCT Initiates Reparation and Healing

Law Professor’s Letter to Students

South Africans Learn That Law Can Be a Double-Edged Sword

What Student Protests Reveal About South Africa’s Young Future Leaders

South Africa’s Public Protector Has Set a High Bar for Her Success

Decade Old Rape Charge Sticks to President Zuma Like the Original Sin

An Open Letter to University Students: Your Vote Matters

South Africa’s Vote Against Internet Freedom Tarnishes its Global Image

Disagreement Can Become an Act of Love and Reconciliation

Law Faculties Must Embrace Difference to Produce Great Graduates

Judge’s Death Provides Moment of Reflection on Legal Reform