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Professor George Edwin Devenish

Lineage:  BSc (Wits) LLB (Unisa) LLD (Unisa) LLD (Natal) TTHD (JCE)

Current position:  Professor

Institution:  University of Natal

Professional life


Private Law

Career path

  • In 2001 he was awarded an LLD degree by the University of Natal for his published works, referred to above. His 5th book The South African Constitution is to be published by Butterworths (LexisNexis) in March 2005

  • In 1995 he assisted in an official capacity as a legal adviser, together with Professors Govender and Dlamini, in the drafting of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Constitution. His other academic interests are inter alia race relations, theology and South African and international politics.

  • In 1992 he was appointed as a political and constitutional adviser to working group 2 of Codesa, which formulated the constitutional principles, and in 1993 he was appointed to the Technical Committee on Constitutional Issues and was therefore one of the eight scholars who drafted the Interim Constitution of 1993

  • In 1986 Professor Devenish was appointed Senior Lecturer at the University of Natal, where in 1989 he was promoted to the position of Professor of Public Law and Head of the Department of Public Law. In 1992 his book on The Interpretation of Statutes, which has been well received, was published by Juta & Co. Subsequently he published three other books published by Butterworths. They are A Commentary of the South African Constitution, A Commentary of the South African Bill of Rights and Administrative Law and Justice in South Africa. His book on A Commentary of the South African Bill of Rights was awarded the Natal University book Prize in 2001 and the Bill Venter/Altron Prize in 2002.

  • Professor Devenish joined UNIBO (now the University of the North West) in 1981 as an Associate Professor of Public Law, and was promoted to a full chair in 1983. He was awarded an LLD degree by the University of South Africa in September 1986; his academic thesis is entitled 'Constitutional Change and Reform in South Africa 1910-1986.' His supervisor and promoter was Prof M Wiechers.

  • He matriculated at Krugersdorp High School in 1959. Following the completion of his Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of the Witwatersrand, he taught physical science at Parktown Boys' High School from 1964 to 1970. While teaching, he studied law part time through the University of South Africa, obtaining his LLB degree in 1972. He joined the University of Fort Hare for the period 1973-1974, teaching Private Law. He then gained some experience in the practice of law in Johannesburg and subsequently returned to academic teaching and research at the University of the Western Cape in 1976, specialising in Public Law, and in particular Constitutional Law.

Published books

  • A Commentary of the South African Constitution

  • A Commentary of the South African Bill of Rights

  • Administrative Law and Justice in South Africa