Professor Willem Hendrik Gravett

Position, Academic & Professional Qualifications

Willem H Gravett is an Associate Professor in the Department of Procedural Law.  He graduated from the University of Pretoria with the degrees BLC (with distinction) in 1994 and LLB (with distinction) in 1996.  In 1997 Gravett was awarded the Bradlow International Human Rights Law Scholarship for 1997/98.  In 1998, he received the LLM degree summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School in the United States.  He was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa in August 1997 and as a Member of the New York State Bar in November 1998.

Gravett was the recipient of, among others, the Schiltz Prize for the best student in the final year of the BLC degree, the Grotius Medal and Harold Galasko Prize for the best student in the final year of the LLB degree, and the Butterworths Prize for the LLB student who wrote the best essay.  At Notre Dame Law School he received Dean's Awards for Excellent Achievement in International Law and Accountability for Gross Violations of Human Rights. 

In 1998, Gravett was admitted to practice in New York and joined an international law firm in New York City.  Between 1998 and 2012 he had an active trial practice in New York, trying more than 130 cases to conclusion.  He completed his formal trial advocacy training at the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (1998) in South Bend, Indiana, and at the American Bar Association’s Family Law Trial Advocacy Institute at the University of Houston (2004).

Gravett was appointed as an extra-ordinary lecturer in the Department of Procedural Law in 2013, and as a full-time lecturer on 1 February 2014.  He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2016, and to Associate Professor as of 1 January 2020.

Teaching Activities           

Gravett teaches Law of Evidence (BWR 300) and Advanced Law of Evidence (LOE 802), as well as courses on Trial Advocacy and Litigation Technique and Cross-Examination at the Pretoria School for Legal Practice and through UP Enterprises.

List of Publications

Books and Book Contributions:

1.  ‘Die Bydrae van Jan Christian Smuts tot Internasionale Reg en Organisasie,’  in Jan Smuts: Van Boerseun tot Wêreldverhoog (Protea Boekhuis, 2017) Co-authored with Professor Christof Heyns

2.  The Fundamental Principles of Effective Trial Advocacy (Juta, 2009)

3.  ‘Guiding Your Client Through a New York Divorce’ in Divorce Proceedings in New York (Thomson Reuters, 2009) 35 pages Co-authored with Margaretha L. Gravett, Esq

Articles:

1.  ‘The Veiled Muslim Witness and the Accused’s Right to a Fair Trial in Adversarial Legal Systems’ (2018) LI Comparative and International Law Journal of South Africa 380 – 411

2.   ‘Opening Address: Powerful Tool of Persuasion or Waste of Time?’ (2018) 51 De Jure 194 – 214

3.   ‘Spotting the Liar in the Witness Box – How Valuable is Demeanour Evidence Really (Part 2)’ (2018) 81 Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 563 – 575

4.    Spotting the Liar in the Witness Box – How Valuable is Demeanour Evidence Really (Part 1)’ (2018) 81 Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 437 – 450 

5.    ‘Subconscious Advocacy – Part 2: Verbal Communication in the Courtroom and Ethical Considerations’ (2018)(2) Stellenbosch Law Review 175 – 198

6.  ‘Subconscious Advocacy – Part 1: Nonverbal Communication in the Courtroom’ (2018)(1) Stellenbosch Law Review 3 – 25 

7.     ‘Of “Deconstruction” and “Destruction” – Why Critical Legal Theory Cannot Be the Cornerstone of the LLB Curriculum’ (2018) 135 South African Law Journal 285 – 323

8.     ‘Pericles Should Learn To Fix a Leaky Pipe – Why Trial Advocacy Should Become Part of the LLB Curriculum (Part 2)’ (2018) 21 Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 1 – 30

9.    ‘Pericles Should Learn To Fix a Leaky Pipe – Why Trial Advocacy Should Become Part of the LLB Curriculum (Part 1)’ (2018) 21 Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 1 – 32

10.   ‘Towards and Algorithmic Model of Judicial Appointment: The Necessity for Radical Revision of the Judicial Services Commission’s Interview Procedures’ (2017) 80 Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 267 – 286

11.    ‘The Myth of Objectivity: Implicit Racial Bias and the Law (Part 2)’ (2017) 20 Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 1 – 25

12.    ‘The Myth of Objectivity: Implicit Racial Bias and the Law (Part 1)’ (2017) 20 Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal 1 – 25

13.    ‘Jan Christian Smuts (1850 – 1970) in Context: An Answer to Mazower and Morefield’ (22 May 2017) The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs 1 – 17

14.  ‘The Myth of Rationality: Cognitive Biases and Heuristics in Judicial Decision-Making” (2017) 134 South African Law Journal 53 – 79 

15.  ‘“To Save Succeeding Generations from the Scourge of War”: Jan Smuts and the Ideological Foundations of the United Nations’ (2017) 39 Human Rights Quarterly 574 – 605, co-authored with Professor Christof Heyns 

16.   ‘The Smutsian Concept of Human Rights’ (2016) 32 South African Journal on Human Rights 538 – 555

17.    ‘Balancing on the Sword’s Edge: May an Attorney Acquire a Mortgage Over a Client’s Home to Secure a Legal Fee?’ (2013) 76 Journal Of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law 537 – 549, co-authored with Professor Rian Cloete 

18.  ‘“I Am Not Overcompensated Enough:” The Moral Compass of the American Lawyer’ (2012) 25(1) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 43 – 48

19.   ‘Trial Advocacy Training in the United States’ (2011) 24(1) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 32 – 34, co-authored with Conrad van Loggerenberg

20.   ‘Effective Opening Statements in American Trial Practice (Part III)’ (2009) 22(3) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 26 – 28

21.  ‘Effective Opening Statements in American Trial Practice (Part II)’ (2009) 22(2) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 45 – 47

22.  ‘Effective Opening Statements in American Trial Practice (Part I)’ (2009) 22(1) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 45 – 48

23.   ‘A Few Last Thoughts on Direct Examination in American Trial Practice (Part IV)’ (2008) 21(2) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 33 – 35

24.    ‘Control on Direct Examination in American Trial Practice (Part III): Keeping the Focus on the Witness and Maximising the Impact of the Testimony’ (2008) 21(2) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 48 – 50

25.  ‘Control on Direct Examination in American Trial Practice (Part II): Preparation, Selection, and Organization’ (2007) 20(3) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 44 – 49

26.  ‘Thou Shalt Not Lead: Basic Principles of Direct Examination in American Trial Practice (Part I)’ (2007) 20(2) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 21 – 24

27.  ‘Cross-Examining Expert Witnesses in American Trial Practice: Part II’ (2007) 20(1) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 36 – 40

28.   ‘Cross-Examining Expert Witnesses in American Trial Practice: Part I’ (2006) 19(3) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 25 – 26

29. ‘The Fundamental Principles of Cross-Examination in American Trial Practice: Part II’ (2006) 19(2) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 48 – 50

30. ‘The Fundamental Principles of Cross-Examination in American Trial Practice: Part I’ (2006) 19(1) Advocate – The South African Bar Journal 48 – 49

Areas of Specialisation

Gravett's main areas of interest are Trial Advocacy and Litigation Technique, Legal Practice, Law of Evidence, and Civil Procedure. He also engages in research on the history of International Law and Organisation, specifically the contribution of Jan Christian Smuts.In 2019 he embarked on research on Artificial Intelligence and the Legal System.

Academic & Professional Memberships

Gravett is a member of the International Association of Procedural Lawyers. He is also and Advocate of the High Court of South Africa and a Member of the New York State Bar.

 

Tel: +27 12 420-2741

Fax: +27 12 420-4405

E-mail: [email protected]   

Published by Elzet Hurter

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