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Gift Makanje

Tutorials (Ptt)

Tutorials (Ptt) in the Durham Law School



Gift Dorothy Makanje is a full-time doctoral research candidate at Durham law school since October 2021. She holds an LLB (Honours) degree from the University of Malawi and an LLM (with Distinction) in criminal justice and human rights from the University of Aberdeen. Gift is a two-time holder of the prestigious Commonwealth Scholarship. She is admitted to the Malawian Bar and is a Lecturer in the University of Malawi’s Faculty of Law where she teaches criminal law, family law and labour law. She once served as a magistrate in the Malawi Judiciary. Her major research interests span criminal law, criminal justice, criminology, human rights and family law. She has presented papers in these areas at various local and international conferences. Gift has also undertaken research, consultancy and charitable outreach activities through the University of Malawi, Malawi Law Society and Women Lawyers Association of Malawi and other community-based organisations that she supports for the benefit of vulnerable groups as well as policy and law makers.

Current Research

The gist of Gift’s doctoral research is, employing system criminality strategies to address harmful cultural practices. Internationally, there is a consensus that harmful cultural practices violate the human rights and freedoms of vulnerable groups like women and children and that they should be eliminated. Virtually every state is using criminal sanctions to eliminate such practices. However, the criminal law is grounded in individual culpability and presents challenges in dealing with offences involving groups or communities which is the case with harmful cultural practices. Using doctrinal, comparative and social-legal approaches this research will investigate the conceptual and practical viability of using system criminality strategies to enhance the legal response to harmful cultural practices. Gift believes that this research will drive appropriate policy and legal reforms in relation to harmful cultural practices in Malawi and beyond. The research is supervised by Professor Michael Bohlander and Dr Emma Milne.

  • Makanje, GD ‘The protection of vulnerable witnesses during criminal trials in Malawi: addressing resource challenges’ (2020) 20 African Human Rights Law Journal 41-77
  • Makanje, GD ‘Crimes involving dishonesty or moral turpitude in Malawi’s elections’ 2019 Journal of African Elections 18(1) p108
  • Makanje, GD ‘The admissibility of expert evidence in criminal proceedings in Malawi: a call for reliability safeguards’ (accepted for publication in the forthcoming- Journal of African Law 2022)
  • Makanje, GD ‘Strengthening the role of traditional leaders for effective local community participation in environmental management in Malawi’ in Sindico F, Switzer S & Tianbao Q (eds) The Transformation of Environmental Law and Governance: risk, innovation and resilience (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2021) 92
  • Makanje, GD ‘The environment management act (2017) and natural resource regulation in Malawi: opportunities for and limitations to effective enforcement’ in P Kameri-Mbote et al (eds) Law/Environment/Africa (Baden: NOMOS, 2018)
Research Groups
  • Centre for Criminal Law and Criminal Justice
  • Durham Human Rights Centre
  • Social-Legal Studies Association