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SAIT Honorary Fellowship Award Profiles: Dennis Davis

30 May 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Author: SAIT Communications
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Source: SAIT Communications

Few names resound as clearly in the South African popular consciousness as that of Judge Dennis Davis. Dennis rose to prominence while working as a technical advisor for the South African Constitution­al Assembly and has had an invaluable impact on our society. It is in recognition of this that SAIT awarded Dennis with an honorary fellowship at our gala dinner on the 14th of May. 

Dennis Martin Davis was educated at Herzlia High School, University of Cape Town and the University of Cambridge. He began teaching at UCT in 1977. Between 1991 and 1997 he served as Director of the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand. Regarded as one of South Africa’s most respected le­gal minds, he was appointed to a personal chair of Commercial Law at the University of Cape Town in 1989. In 1998 he was also appointed as a Judge of the High Court, and thereafter as President of the Competi­tion Appeal Court in 2000, a position he still holds today.

Throughout his academic career, to date, he has contrib­uted more than 150 academic articles on legal theory, constitutional law, taxation, labour law, competition law, administrative law and South African history. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Law by the University of Cape Town for his contribution to academic life and the development of human rights in South Africa.

Dennis served as the Deputy Chairman of the Katz Commission of Enquiry into Certain Aspects of the Tax Structure of South Africa during the transition to a democratic South Africa. During 2013, Dennis was appointed by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, to Chair the Commission of Enquiry into Tax Policy Reform. Since his appointment to the bench in 1998, he has continued to teach constitutional law and tax law at the University of Cape Town where he is an Honorary Professor of Law. 

Dennis was a technical advisor to the South African Constitution­al Assembly that wrote the interim Constitution (1993) and final (1996) Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. He is a regular contributor at conferences at leading universities and has in recent years been a visiting scholar and professor at the Universities of Toronto, Melbourne, Harvard, New York, Florida and Brown. 

Dennis previously hosted "Future Imperfect”, an award-winning current affairs television programme, and currently hosts "Judge for Yourself”, which deals with constitutional issues. He is a regular contributor to debate in public forums and the media on issues of human rights, politics, religion and related matters of current interest.

In addition to his judicial and academic positions, Dennis has also made significant contributions as author and co-author of a num­ber of publications, including:

  • Income Tax Cases & Materials (Juta & Co)
  • The SA Law of Insurance (Juta & Co)
  • Critical Issues in South African Criminology (David Philip)
  • Estate Planning in SA (Butterworths)
  • Detention & Torture in SA (David Philip)
  • Beyond Apartheid (Pluto)
  • Rights and the Constitution (Juta & Co)
  • Rights and Constitutionalism (Juta & Co)
  • Precedent and Possibility: the use and (ab)use of law in South Africa (Juta & Co)



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