The Centre for Applied Legal Studies was founded by Professor John Dugard in 1978 as an applied research centre within the Faculty of Law at the University of the Witwatersrand.
It started at a time when public interest law groups did not exist in South Africa with three staff members, core funding from the Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund with provision of accommodation and financial assistance by the University of the Witwatersrand.
- The dismantling of systemic harm;
- The meaningful implementation of human rights; and
- A rigorous dedication to justice
- To use the law to implement and protect the human rights of individuals;
- To facilitate the speedy development of a politically and economically just and sustainable society;
- Through a combination of litigation, advocacy and research, to challenge systems of power and act on behalf of the vulnerable;
- To act with courage against impunity