On the evening of 3 April 2019, the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, with its loyal donors and sponsors, celebrated the academic achievements of law students from the 2018 academic year. BCom Law, BA Law, LLB and Master’s students were recognised for their outstanding academic achievements at this prestigious event.
Dean André Boraine and Deputy Dean Birgit Kuschke, who was the programme director, praised and thanked the students for their inspiring academic performances in 2018. Professor Boraine also paid tribute to the 15 doctorate graduates, 122 Master’s graduates and 377 LLB graduates who were to receive their degrees the next day at the Autumn Graduation of the University of Pretoria.
In his welcoming address, Professor Boraine referred to the 2019 Times Higher Education worldwide rankings and said that he was proud to confirm that ‘UP Law remained the highest ranked law faculty on the Africa continent and 76th globally. In particular given the fact that there are approximately 24 000 universities around the globe.’ He attributed the continued success of the Faculty to the concerted efforts of alumni, donors, prize givers, staff and students. In particular he conveyed the Faculty’s appreciation of the continued support of all the donors and prize givers who have ensured over decades that the Faculty’s top students are suitably recognised for their achievements.
Academic Vice-Principal of the University of Pretoria, Professor Noman Duncan, also extended his heartfelt congratulations to the students on their outstanding achievements. Professor Duncan welcomed the keynote speaker, Mr Sakeus Edward Twelityaamena Shanghala, the Honourable Minister of Justice of the Republic of Namibia. Minister Shanghala focused on the importance to continuously aspire and work towards academic achievement and conquering the bumpy road to success, which is often obstructed by challenges and hindrances. He told the audience that “Education is an illuminating experience and equaliser, and thus the results and benefits of education must be optimised. Especially in a time where education and the freedom of thought and expression are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The Minister encouraged students to think big and always aspire to make an impact at global level, using their skills and education to find solutions that can bring about much needed great change. He reminded students that ‘[their] time as students is not permanent and they should make use of opportunities to learn from the leadership within the Faculty. He continued by saying that ‘We only get one shot at life, therefore continue on this path of success and make the right choices so that you can positively impact people’s lives.’
The Minister is also closely linked to the Faculty, having recently successfully completed a Certificate in Advanced International Insolvency Law, under the guidance of the Dean André Boraine, and was the final recipient on the programme. Prof Boraine met the Minister in 2012 when he was a member of the World Bank team who compiled Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) regarding the Namibian insolvency laws and the rights of creditors. At this time the Minister was the Director of the Law Commission of Namibia. Minister Shanghala and Dean Boraine shared a keen interest in insolvency law, which eventually led to the Minister’s enrolment in the Advanced International Insolvency Law Course.
Insolvency Law and particularly international insolvency law are becoming very important areas of focus. “On the one hand many countries like Namibia are reviewing their insolvency laws, which are key to economic development, and simultaneously some countries are considering developing a more harmonised system of cross-border insolvency rules when debtors conduct cross-border business and end up in financial difficulties,” said Prof Boraine.
BA Law second year student in 2018, Kayla Thomas, and BCom Law student Marthinus Fourie received the Norton Rose Fulbright Prize for the highest weighted average in the prescribed BA Law II and BCom Law II modules respectively.
First year LLB student Sandro Nobrega de Freitas was awarded the Carpe Diem Prize for highest weighted average in the prescribed first year modules. She also received a Certificate of Merit for Jurisprudence 110 and was recognised on the Dean's Merit List for oustanding academic achievement.
Second year LLB student Laetitia Makombe obtained the Willem du Plessiz Prize for the highest weighted average in all the second year modules, and was recognised on the Dean's Merit List.
Third year LLB student Roxanne Westphal received the Schilz Prize for the student with the highest weighted average in all the third year modules; the Van der Merwe du Toit Prize for best student in Law of Things 310; and recognition on the Dean's Merit List.
Final year LLB student Johan Coertze walked away with the following best student awards: Chief Justice FLH Rumpff Floating Trophy for Public Law 410 and 420; Gildenhuys Malatji Incorporated Prize for Practical Law 400; Grotius Medal and Harold Galasko Prize for the final year LLB student with the highest weighted average in all the final year LLB modules, provided that the student passed all the prescribed modules at first attempt; PPS Prize for Trust and Estates 410 (shared); SA Society for Labour Law Prize for Labour Law 410 (shared); Phatshoane Henney Group Medal for obtaining the LLB with distinction; and recognition for outstanding academic performance on the Dean's Merit List.
Darragh Meaker received the Juta Law Prize for the highest weighted average in all the prescribed theoretical modules of an LLM degree by coursework, including the mini-dissertation.
The event was concluded with light refreshments and an opportunity for guests to socialise and for donors and prize givers to get to know their awardees better.