Law graduate sets new record for youngest person to obtain UP Law doctoral degree

Posted on February 12, 2020

Law scholar Dr Marko Svicevic has set a new record for the youngest person (± 25 years and 3 months) to ever obtain a Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Faculty of Law.

Dr Svicevic obtained a BA (Law) degree at UP in 2015, completed his LLB degree in 2017, and completed his doctoral thesis in January 2020. 

He had registered for an LLM through research in the Department of Public Law in 2018, while working as a research associate under Professor Erika de Wet, who was the first incumbent of the South African Research Chair Initiative (SARChI) in International Constitutional Law, between January 2016 and December 2019.

“After a year of LLM studies, Professor De Wet suggested that, given the quality and nature of the research, we should apply to upgrade the study to an LLD. The upgrade was successful, and I submitted my thesis for examination in November 2019, titled ‘United Nations Security Council authorisation of regional enforcement action: Legal implications of Resolution 2337 (2017) in The Gambia’.

My thesis examined and scrutinised United Nations Security Council authorisation of the use of force in international law, with an expanded focus on the practices of African regional and sub-regional organisations. Ultimately, it proposed that explicit United Nations Security Council authorisation is a well-established practice, and concluded against implicit and retroactive instances of such authorisation.”

Prof De Wet is “extremely proud” of Dr Svicevic. She describes him as an extremely dedicated and mature individual with an exceptional analytical ability, sense of discipline and work ethic for someone so young.

“The mere fact that Svicevic’s LLM through research was upgraded to a doctoral project after one year underscores that he is an exceptional talent. Moreover, merely eleven months later, he submitted a doctoral thesis which received extensive praise by all three examiners for its quality. I have no doubt that Svicevic’s research will make a significant contribution to issues pertaining to the use of force and peace-enforcement operations in the African context.”

Dr Svicevic will graduate on 9 April 2020, during UP’s Autumn Graduation Ceremonies, and plans to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Johannesburg in 2020. Prof De Wet relocated to the University of Graz in Austria in January 2020.

- Author Faculty of Law

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