oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - "One JP De Wet". South Africa's first judicial export?

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



The research contained in the present article aims to shed some light on the life and legal career of Sir Jacobus Petrus de Wet. He was South Africa's first judicial export. Over the years, many aspects of the legal career of JP de Wet had become shrouded in the mist of history. The present article is an attempt to answer at least some of the more obvious questions which come to mind when studying the few cursory biographical notes which have been published about his life and legal career. The following are addressed: How did it happen that he was appointed out of the blue and over the head of Sir JG Kotzé, as the Chief Justice of the Transvaal in May 1880? Why was he offered the Chief Justiceship of Ceylon in 1882? And why did he disappear from the judicial scene after he had left Ceylon at the relatively young age of forty four?

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