LLM Curriculum

Tax Law


Course Overview:

Higher postgraduate double course, taught throughout the year.

See Rules for LLM and MPhil Degrees and Postgraduate Diplomas.

The objective of the course is to nurture tax lawyers and to provide non-lawyers with an insight into tax law and the rights of taxpayers in regard to liability for taxation. The accent is on the practical application of tax legislation as interpreted by the courts. The aim is to produce commercial lawyers who will be able to achieve tax efficiency when drafting agreements, negotiating contracts and advising their clients, and to foster a similar awareness of tax issues in other professionals.

Course outline:
This is a one-year course that focuses on income tax law as pronounced upon by the courts. Its compass is necessarily restricted by the amount of lecturing time available, but also - deliberately - by the content of areas of dispute within which South African jurisprudence has been developed by the courts. Tax law as an area of both practice and academic study is characterised by regular, frequent and, in recent years, substantial change. The chosen teaching method accordingly recognises that much information in the form of legislation, and the interpretation thereof by the courts, is likely to change significantly in the short term and possibly substantially in the medium to long term.

The objective of the course is to impart a way of thinking about tax issues and problems; and in order to achieve this extensive use is made of court pronouncements in areas which are likely to remain fundamental to our system of taxation - despite continuous reinterpretation by the courts and a shifting legislative context. Students who engage actively in this process obtain thereby a principled foundation and grasp that equips them to master the inevitable changes that characterise this branch of the law. This is an ability that is required of all tax professionals, whether academic or in practice, and the aim of this course is to foster and nurture the necessary skills.

The emphasis of the course is accordingly on knowledge rather than information, knowledge that will stand the test of time and enable graduates to integrate future tax changes into their methodology of resolving difficult tax problems in accordance with South African tax jurisprudence.

Two lectures per week throughout the year, on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

DP requirements:
Candidates are required to pass (a minimum result of 50%) both the following: a two-hour written test in June which counts for 30%, and one three-hour final written examination in November which counts for 70%. Further tests maybe scheduled at the discretion of the convener.

NOTE: The Convener of the course may, at his/her discretion, limit the size of the class for didactic reasons. CML5661W Tax Law is the approved course for the award of the Postgraduate Diploma in Tax Law: it is also a double-course for the award of the LLM degree in Commercial Law or Tax Law.