oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - Fundamental principles of law and justice in the opening title of Johannes Voet's



Johannes Voet's , the leading institutional work in Roman-Dutch law, is also the most frequently quoted exposition of that legal system in the South African courts. The opening title of that magisterial work, however, has for the most part been unjustly neglected by our judges, scholars and law teachers alike. Apart from providing an exceptionally fine introduction to the elements of law and justice, this title reveals the imposing range of Voet's scholarship, which sweeps within its compass many ancient writings. I argue that South Africa's constitutional jurisprudence in its present state is solely in need of the nourishment and healing which the fundamental principles of natural law and justice expounded by Voet are amply capable of providing. In this article, I attempt a close reading of 1 1, in order to shed light on these key principles. In conclusion, I submit that this rich repository of principle merits far closer judicial and juristic attention than it has received in this country until now.


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