All research conducted in or under the auspices of the Law Faculty that proposes to involve the collection of data from or about human participants must be submitted for review by the Research Ethics Committee (REC). No research may begin unless clearance has been granted by the REC. No retrospective ethics clearance may be granted.
The objective of the Research Ethics Committee is to raise awareness of ethical imperatives and improve research proposals to meet these imperatives. This educative and facilitative function is consistent with South Africa's Constitution which prohibits participation in research without informed consent (s 12(2)(c)). The Committee's function also complies with national legislation - the National Health Act 61 of 2003 - which defines 'health' very broadly to include the well-being of all humans, and 'health research' as including 'surveys, interviews, focus groups or ethnographic observations'.