Research 2002

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Faculty of Law

Prof DG Kleyn, Dean

Telephone number: 012 420 2412
Fax number: 012 362 5184
E-mail address:

Preface by the Dean

The Faculty of Law places a high premium on research and has succeeded in establishing a strong research culture within the Faculty. Members of the academic staff are encouraged and supported to undertake research by means of careful career planning, performance management, annual contracting of proposed research outputs and awards for meritorious publications. The Faculty’s research and conference funds are utilized to the utmost to create opportunities for academics to attend and present papers at national and international conferences and to establish research networks. The year 2002 was once again a very productive year with many highlights.

There was a noteable increase in the number of articles published in accredited journals but important contributions were also made to non-accredited national and international journals as wells as books for subject specialists. Faculty members are also responsible for the publication of an array of student textbooks that are prescribed at several institutions of higher learning in South Africa. The Faculty’s law journal De Jure, published by LexisNexis Butterworths, was in its 35th year of publication and is still a leading journal which draws contributions from national and international academics. Prof Trynie Davel took over from Prof Chris Nagel as editor and a new advisory board was appointed. The two new journals, South African Insolvency Law Review and African Human Rights Law Journal, which were established by Faculty members in 2001, are doing well and the latter has been accredited in 2002 by the Department of Education.

The Faculty is proud of the awards made to some of its members in recognition for their achievements. Proff Christof Heyns and Frans Viljoen both received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching and Learning. This award was made in recognition of the LLM in Human Rights and Democratisation in Africa which they established and which amongst other contributes to various research outputs published in the African Human Rights Law Journal. Prof Trynie Davel received an award as exceptional academic achiever and Prof Karin van Marle as exceptional young researcher. Prof Frans Viljoen and Ms Lirette Louw received a Mellon grant for the promotion of the latter’s doctoral studies.

International exchange programmes were managed effectively. Our ties with the Charles University in the Czech Republic were strengthened when the two law faculties hosted an international workshop on “The Roman Law Tradition in Societies in Transition” in Prague, 14 to 16 May 2002. Representatives from eight countries attended and three members of our Faculty presented papers: Prof Philip Thomas, Mr Dire Tladi and Ms Marlene Wethmar. In accordance with our exchange agreement with the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, some research visitations took place. Prof Jan Hallebeek and Dr Eric Ebben from Amsterdam visited our Faculty and Proff Linda Schoeman-Malan and Pieter Carstens undertook research trips to Amsterdam. A delegation from the Vrije Universiteit also paid our Faculty a visit to discuss the issue of joint publications by members of the respective faculties.

Several lecturers presented papers at national and international conferences but the following can be mentioned in particular. Five members of the Faculty presented papers and posters at the 11th World Conference on Family Life and Human Rights in Copenhagen and Oslo from 2 to 7 August 2002: Proff Trynie Davel, Neil van Schalkwyk, Papa Maithufi, Caroline Nicholson and Mr Bernard Bekink. Proff André Boraine and David Burdette presented papers at two international conferences for the Pacific rim region during October 2002: A conference on business rescue at the University of Hong Kong and the Insol International Conference on international insolvency law in Beijing. Prof Karin van Marle was awarded and undertook a research fellowship at the University of Keele during which time she presented seminars on legal theory at Keele, Birkbeck and Cardiff. Ms Birgit Kuschke presented the South African Constitution to the AIDA Working Party on Pollution, Products and New Technologies World Report for the world conference in New York from 21 to 25 October 2002.

The Faculty puts a high premium on the requirement for academic staff to finish their doctoral studies and thus three members obtained the LLD degree during 2002: Michéle Olivier, Melanie Roestoff and David Burdette.

In its effort to pursue excellence the Faculty places special emphasis on its postgraduate study programmes. As a result of this, the intake of postgraduate students increased considerably. A record number of 133 students have completed their postgraduate studies during 2002. The Faculty in partnership with the law faculty of the University of the Western Cape, has obtained a Carnegie grant of $1 million to establish a LLM programme in International Trade and Investment Law in Africa. This programme was designed during 2002 under the leadership of Prof Christof Heyns and it will address the lack of capacity in this area of law in our sub region and the rest of Africa. Only the best students on the continent will be admitted to this programme and they will receive the best international exposure.

Members of the Faculty undertook important research projects that will impact on law reform on national and international levels. Prof André Boraine, under the auspices of the Faculty’s Centre for Advanced Corporate and Insolvency Law, has submitted the interim report on the reform of administration orders to the Department of Justice. The Department has subsequently instructed the South African Law Commission to prepare legislation amendments. Prof Boraine has been appointed as a member of the Commission’s committee that will undertake this task. Proff Christof Heyns and Frans Viljoen from our Centre for Human Rights were requested by the United Nation’s High Commissioner on Human Rights to undertake a research project on the impact of the United Nations’ human rights treaties in twenty selected countries. After two years the results were published during 2002 by Kluwer in a book by the two authors: The Impact of the United Nations Treaties on the Domestic Level. Several recommendations were made concerning the reform of the United Nations human rights system and the UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan has cited the work with approval. The Centre for Child Law focused their research on HIV/AIDS and children’s rights and a publication on this issue is presently in process.

Our students have a long-standing tradition of excellent performance in international moot court competitions. Preparation involves extensive research and participants get accredited for the subject Moot Court 420. During 2002, our team won the English rounds and came second in the finals of the All-African Human Rights Moot Court Competition in Cairo. On their performance they were appointed to represent South Africa in the Common Wealth Moot Court Competition in Melbourne, Australia during 2003.


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