oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - A tale of two translations : Van Leeuwen and Van der Linden and the application of Roman-Dutch law at the Cape in the 1820s; to which is appended a transcription of PB Borcherds’ 1822 translation of book II of Van der Linden’s Koopmans Handboek

Volume 24 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



The Roman-Dutch law applicable at the Cape of Good Hope survived the British take-over of the settlement at the beginning of the nineteenth century for a number of reasons. One of these was the increasing availability, through translations into English, of the main sources of that legal system. This contribution spotlights two hitherto little known such translations, of works of Van Leeuwen and Van der Linden. One of these was by a local Cape lawyer, PB Borcherds. Although partly typeset and printed, the translation was, for apparently spurious reasons, never published; had it been, it may well have been the earliest legal work published at the Cape. The translation, existing only as archival material, is here transcribed and published for the first time, almost two hundred years after it should have appeared.

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