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Prof Theo Broodryk’s research on class actions helps facilitate access to justice
Author: Corporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking
Published: 11/04/2024

​​Prof Theo Broodryk, Manager of the Stellenbosch University (SU) Law Clinic and a professor in the Faculty of Law at SU, delivered his inaugural lecture on Tuesday 9 April 2024. The title of his lecture was “Reflecting on 30 years of class action in South Africa: a people inured to hardship, but not to collective redress?".

Broodryk spoke to the Corporate Communication and Marketing Division about how his research on class actions helps to facilitate access to justice to the poor and marginalised.

Tell us more about your research and why you became interested in this specific field.

My research relates to collective litigation, specifically to those procedural mechanisms that enable individuals to litigate collectively, as a group. I am particularly interested in class actions. A class action is essentially a legal mechanism which enables the claims of a group of individuals against the same defendant(s) to be determined in a single lawsuit.

How would you describe the relevance of your work?

I am particularly interested in class actions because of its ability to facilitate large scale access to justice and judicial economy and because of the role it plays in deterring anti-social behaviour. By generating interest through my academic research in class action law, I hope to assist in informing policy discussions and facilitating reforms aimed at improving the South African collective redress landscape.

You have spent many years in the challenging environment of higher education. What keeps you motivated when things get tough?

I try to focus on my purpose, to celebrate small wins, to embrace a growth mindset, to prioritise self-care and to stay engaged with my subject matter and teaching methodologies. These strategies help me to maintain motivation and a positive outlook despite the challenges that I may face.

What aspects of your work do you enjoy the most?

The aspect that I enjoy most about my job is being able to apply my research expertise in a practical setting for the benefit of large groups of individuals. For instance, not too long ago the Stellenbosch University Law Clinic successfully obtained certification of a consumer class action and we hope that thousands of individuals will ultimately benefit from the class action litigation.

How do you spend your free time?

I enjoy spending time with my wife, Marlene, and my 18-month-old son, David. I also enjoy reading and exercising, but the little one has made it quite difficult to find sufficient time to do these things!

  • Click here for more on Prof Theo Broodryk's academic journey.