Youngest ever TuksLaw doctorate awarded

Posted on November 28, 2016


The Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria is pleased to announce that alumnus Emile Zitzke successfully defended his doctoral thesis earlier in November 2016, setting the record for the youngest person to obtain a Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree in the Faculty.

Dr Zitzke obtained an LLB degree at the University of Pretoria in 2013 with various awards, including the Vice-Chancellor's medal for being top of his class. He registered for a research LLM in private law in 2014 while working as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Jurisprudence.  

'After a year of LLM studies, my supervisor Prof Johan Scott and I applied for an upgrade of my project to an LLD. Our application was successful and by August 2016 I submitted my doctoral thesis, titled "A new proposed constitutional methodology for effecting transformation in the South African law of delict", for examination. In the thesis, I problematised conventional approaches to the application of the Constitution and human rights to private-law issues. I attempted to merge critical legal theory, constitutional law, human rights and the common law of delict,' said Dr Zitzke. 

A proud Emeritus Professor Scott describes Dr Zitzke as a most exceptional young man with wisdom well beyond his 25 years. 'What makes his performance particularly remarkable is that he is one of a very few candidates who has been permitted to upgrade his Master of Laws studies to doctoral studies – and that he managed to complete it within a year of the upgrade being approved. In practical terms, he wrote an exceptional doctoral thesis in less than a year. The quality of this work is fully attested to by the glowing reports received from his examiners. To my mind, Dr Zitzke is set to become one of academia's shining lights.'

Dr Zitzke will graduate on 9 December 2016, during the graduation ceremony of the 2016 Human Rights master's degree students, and plans to pursue a post-doctoral fellowship in 2017.

He is currently a researcher at the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law. 



- Author Elzet Hurter

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