Toerien Van Wyk

PhD Candidate

Toerien is a PhD candidate in the ARC Laureate Program in Comparative Constitutional Law at the Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies, Melbourne Law School. Her interests are in comparative constitutional law, human rights and access to information. Before joining the Laureate Program, Toerien was a Co-Director of the South African History Archive, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting struggles for justice using access to information laws and archival practice. Her previous work experience includes being employed as a legal consultant, a human rights researcher, and a law lecturer.  Toerien holds a Master of Laws: Human Rights degree (LLM) (cum laude) and a Higher Diploma in International Taxation from the University of Johannesburg as well as a Baccalaureus Legum degree (LLB) from the University of South Africa. Toerien’s research is in comparative constitutional law, with a focus on the protection and promotion of access to information.

Thesis Title

Constitutionally guaranteeing information flow

Thesis Summary

The South African Constitution, expressly recognises a fundamental right of access to information. When this provision was enacted in 1996, express constitutional recognition of such a right was fairly unique.  My thesis examines the way the right is perceived and protected in South Africa. It will consider the ways in which this form of recognition compares with recognition provided in other constitutional jurisdictions, and the extent to which it has succeeded in achieving its underlying purposes. Based on this analysis my thesis will draw out insights for constitutional drafters considering ways in which to provide recognition for access to information within a constitutional democracy.


  • Access to Information/Freedom of Information
  • Administrative/Public Law
  • Comparative Constitutional Law
  • Comparative Law
  • Constitutional Law
  • Free Speech Law
  • Human Rights Law
  • Privacy Law