The South African Research Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability (CLES) forms part of the Research Unit on Law, Justice and Sustainability of the Faculty of Law, North-West University.  The Chair is situated in Potchefstroom, South Africa. It forms part of the SARChI Initiative of the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF). In July 2023, CLES was renewed for another 5-year cycle. Furthermore, based on its outputs and achievements over the past five years, it has been upgraded from an NRF Tier 2 to a Tier 1 Chair. 

CLES is an academic institution devoted to legal scholarship and research skills development for sustainable urban development in South Africa, the broader African region and beyond.  To this end, the Chair hosts many full-time postdoctoral fellows and postgraduate students furthering their studies in the intersecting field of law, governance, urban development and environmental sustainability. The Interim Chairholder is Prof Oliver Fuo, an established researcher in the field of local government and social justice, with an interest in environmental law.

It is the aim of CLES a) to produce and publish relevant research of an excellent standard through postgraduate dissertations and theses, scholarly journal articles, book chapters, books, reports and policy papers; and b) to actively participate in science engagement with policymakers, government officials, NGOs and any institution devoted to urban development and sustainable governance to ensure impact and to be of relevance.