UP Law celebrates student success at its Recognition of Achievement event

Posted on April 30, 2019

The Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria (UP) recently honoured the academic achievements of law scholars from the 2018 academic year at an annual event that recognises BCom Law, BA Law, LLB and master’s students for their outstanding accomplishments.

Keynote speaker Sakeus Edward Twelityaamena Shanghala, the Honourable Minister of Justice of the Republic of Namibia, spoke of the importance of continually working towards academic achievements. “Education is an illuminating experience and an equaliser, and the results and benefits of it must be optimised – especially in a time where education and freedom of thought and expression are enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the minister said.

Professor Norman Duncan, Vice-Principal: Academic, congratulated the students on their academic successes, as did Dean of the Law Faculty Professor André Boraine and Professor Birgit Kuschke, the deputy dean. Prof Boraine also paid tribute to the 15 doctorate graduates, 122 master’s graduates and 377 LLB graduates who received their degrees the following day at autumn graduation. 

In reference to the 2019 Times Higher Education worldwide rankings, Prof Boraine proudly confirmed in his welcome address that “UP Law remained the highest-ranked law faculty on the African continent and 76th globally, given that there are about 24 000 universities around the world”. He also conveyed the faculty’s appreciation for the continued support of donors and prize-givers who have ensured that the UP Law’s top students are suitably recognised for their achievements.

Minister Shanghala encouraged students to aspire to making an impact on a global level, to use their skills and education to find solutions that can bring about great change and to learn from the leadership within the faculty. “We get only 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,” he said.

Prof Norman Duncan, Prof André Boraine and Minister Sakeus Edward Twelityaamena Shanghala

The minister has close ties to the faculty, having recently completed a Certificate in Advanced International Insolvency Law under the guidance of Prof Boraine, and was the final recipient on the programme. Prof Boraine met Minister Shanghala in 2012 when the dean was part of the World Bank team that compiled the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes regarding Namibia’s insolvency laws and the rights of creditors. At the time, Minister Shanghala was the Director of the Law Commission of Namibia.

Insolvency law, and international insolvency law in particular, is becoming an important area of focus. “On the one hand, many countries like Namibia are reviewing their insolvency laws, which are key to economic development,” Prof Boraine said. “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.”

Award winners

BA Law second-year student 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 received 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 was awarded 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 was recognised on the Dean’s Merit List.

Johan Coertze, a final-year LLB student, walked away with the following 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 on the 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; as well as 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

- Author Elzet Hurter

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