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 Prof. Dennis Davis

Position: Extraordinary Professor
Department: Mercantile and Labour Law
Faculty: Faculty of Law
Qualifications: B.Com LLB (Cum Laude) (UCT) MPhil (Cambridge)
Tel: 021 959 3302


 Judge of the High Court, Judge President of the Competition Appeal Court.
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. Sincehis 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 Constitution- al 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 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 num- ber 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)



Davis :  Gordon’s The SA Law of Insurance (3 ed) (1983): 4th (ed) 1993 Juta & Co. 5th edition to be published in 2019 (with Philip Sutherland). 1

Davis & Slabbert :  Critical Issues in South African Criminology (1985), David Phillip.

Davis & Urquhart :   Estate Planning in SA (1986, 2nd ed. 1988) Butterworths. Now loose leaf. (witth R Jooste & C Beneke)

Foster, Davis & Sandler :  Detention & Torture in SA (1987), David Phillip.

Fine & Davis :  Beyond Apartheid Pluto (1991).

Cachalia, Cheadle, Davis, Maduna & Marcus :  Rights and the Constitution Jutas (1994); 2nd ed (1997).

Davis, Dugard, van Wyk & de Villiers :   Rights & Constitutionalism - Jutas (1994).

Emslie T, Davis D, & Hutton S : Income Tax Cases & Materials (1995), (2001), (2008), (2012) The Taxpayer

Cheadle Davis and Haysom :   Constitutional  Law .The Bill of Rights. Lexis Nexis, looseleaf  updated twice a year 

Davis and M M Le Roux : Precedent  and Possibility: the(ab)use of law  in South Africa  (2008) new edition 2018

Davis and Geach (eds) : Companies and other Business Structures. three editions; 2013.OUP; new edition 2018

Davis, A Richter & C Saunders (eds)  :  An enquiry into the existence of global values thorough the lens of comparative constitutional law. 2015. Hart

Engle, Miller & Davis  :   Anti-Impunity and the Human Rights Agenda C.U.P. 2016

MM Le Roux and DM Davis :  Lawfare : The defence of democracy to be published  end of 2018



In Corder (ed)  :   with H Corder  Law & Social Practice: An introduction In Essays on Law & Social Practice in SA. Juta C.T. (1988).

In Corder (ed) :    Law & Social Practice: Towards a Non- Instrumentalist View of Law in Essays on Law & Social Practice in SA

In Hund (Ed) :   Legality & Struggle. In Law & Justice in SA -Centre for Inter Group Studies. (1988).

In Van der Westhuizen & Viljoen (Eds) :   Legality & Struggle. Towards a view of Bill of Rights for SA. Butterworths (1988).

In Polley (Ed) :  The Freedom Charter - Real Hope for Re-establishing the Rule of the Law.  In the Freedom Charter for the Future IDASA (1988).

In Visser (Ed) :   From Contract to Administrative Law in Essay on the History of Law, Juta (1989).

In Du Toit & Manganyi (Eds) :   Violence & the Law: The Use of the Censure in Political Trials in South Africa in Political Violence & the Struggle iin MacMillan (1990).

In Sumner (Ed) :   Censure, Politics & Criminal Justice (with C Albertyn) OUP (1990).

In Hansson & Van Zyl Smit (Eds) :  Towards Justice OUP (1990).

In Swilling (Ed) :    “The Judges Crucible in Ideology of Law & Ideology of Struggle” in Views on the SA State (HSRC), 1991.

In Steytler, N  :   A Challenge & a Bequest’ in The Freedom Charter (1991).

In Schrire, R (Ed) :  “Taxation in a Post Apartheid South Africa”.  In Taxation & Democracy. Oxford University Press, 1991.

In Kahn E (Ed) :  ​​ Substance over Form in Tax in A quest for Justice, Jutas,1995.

In Chaskalson et al :   ‘Economic Rights’ in Constitutional Law in SA Jutas. Looseleaf.

In Corder and Maluwa (ed) :  ‘Administrative law and Democracy’1997)

In Conaghan, Fischl and Klare (eds)   :  Labour Law in an Era of Globalization  2002. OUP The death of Labour law and  Social Rights and Social Citizenship’ (latter piece with Patrick Maclem and Guy Mundlak)                                     

In Rosenfeld & Sajo (eds) : Socio-Economic Rights Comparative Constitutional Law. 2012. OUP

In Fox and Trebilcock (eds)  The  design of competition law 2013. OUP

In Klare & Williams (eds)   Critical Socio Economic Rights. Routledge 2014.

In Lianos & Geradin (eds) International Competition Law. CUP. In press 2018



Separate list of publications 1977 - 1986 available.

The Right to strike in South Africa in the Strike, M Rotandi (ed) Dot A Guiffe Milano, 1987, pp 43 - 66.

A Bill of Rights for South Africa, Transformation 4, 27 - 38, 1987.

The Chief Justice & the Total Onslaught, SAJHR 3, 229 - 233, 1987.

Competing Conceptions: Pro-Executive or Pro-Democratic Choice, SAJHR 3, 96 - 105, 1987.

(with B Jordaan):  The Status & Organisation of Industrial Courts: A Comparative Study, Industrial LJ 8, 199 - 222, 1987.

Repression & Integration:  Two Sides of the Same Apparatus, Int J of Sociology of Law 15, 61 - 84, 1987.

(with D H Foster & D Sandler): Detention, Torture & Criminal Justice Process in South Africa. Int J of Sociology of Law 15, 105 - 120, 1987.

Unrealised Foreign Exchange Losses & the “Second Year” Problem, Taxpayer 36, 3 - 1-, 1987.

(with F McFarlane): Substance over Form:  A New Approach to Tax Avoidance, Taxpayer 36, 3 - 10, 1987.

The Cession in Securitatem Debit:  Back to Back Annuity Endowment Policies, Taxpayer 36, 44 - 48, 1987.

(with D Meyerowitz):  Regional Services Council Levies, Taxpayer 36, 81 - 91, 1987.

The Future of the South African Legal System Beyond Apartheid, Acta Juridica, 220 - 236, 1987.

(with Arendse N M): Picketing, Industrial Law Journal 9, 26 - 38, 1988.

Trusts & the Margo Commission.  The Taxpayer 37, 6 - 10, 1988.

Tax Avoidance, Trusts & the Margo Commission.  The Taxpayer 37, 161 - 166, 1988.

Political trials & civil liberties.  Natal University Law & Society Review 1, 87 0 98, 1988.

(with Corder H M): A Long March ?  Administrative Law & the Appellate Division.  SAJHR 4, 281 - 302, 1988.

Extenuation - An unnecessary halfway house on the road to a natural sentencing policy.  South African Journal of Criminal Justice, 2, 205 - 218, 1989.

Preparation of tax returns and the provision of tax advice: Tax consultant’s liability.  The Taxpayer, 38, 61 - 67, 1989.

Law, State & Social Change, Tydskrif vir Regswetenskap, 13, 202 - 208, 1989.

(with Corder H M): The constitutional guidelines of the African National Congress: A preliminary assessment.  South African Law Journal, 106, 633 - 647, 1989.

“The Unbearable Lightness of Language” (1993) SAJHR 311.

“The Juridification of Industrial Relations in South Africa” (1991) 12 ILJ 1181.

“The Commissioner’s Discretionary Powers” (1993) 110 SAJHR 417.

“Social Power & Civil Rights” (1991) SALJ 453.

“Administrative Justice & Democracy” 1993 Acta Juridica 21.

The Delmas Trial and the danger of political trials for the legitimising of a legal system.  South African Journal of Human Rights 6, 79-88, 1990

Voluntarism and South African Labour Law 1990, Acta Juridica 44.

Administration of Justice 1990 - 1996 Annual Survey of South African Law (with E Cameron & G Marcus).1998-   Annual Survey with Marcus  and J. Klaaren

Remaking the SA Legal Order 1991 Social Justice 65.

Film Schemes & Partnerships 1991 Taxpayer 234.

Taxation 1991, 1992 1993 & 1994 Annual Survey of SA Law.

Administration of Justice  in The Annual Survey of South African Law 1991 to date (with G. Marcus, H Corder and J Brickhill

Hard Cases in Wicked Legal Systems (1992) 109 SALJ 157

The Case against Socio-Economic Rights in a Bill of Rights 1992 SA Journal of Human Rights 475.

Democracy, its influence upon the process of constitutional interpretation (1994) 10 South African Journal of Human Rights 103.

The tax treatment of promissory notes, 1995 Acta Juridica 12

Integrity & Ideology: Towards a critical theory of the judicial function (1995) 112 South African Law Journal 104

Holomisa v Argus Newspapers (1996) 12 SAJHR 504 ‘A ringing & decisive break with the past?’ (1996)3 Review of Constitutional Studies 141 (with H. Corder).

‘The underlying theory that informs the constitution’ (1996) 113 SALJ 267.

‘The Last Laugh’ (1996)12 SAJHR 361 (with S. Woolman)

‘The Application of the 1996 Constitution in the Private Sphere’ (1997) 13 SAJHR 44 (with H. Cheadle).

‘Democracy & Integrity’ (1998) 14 SAJHR 127.

‘Legal History & Southern Cross’ (1997) 13 SAJHR 349.

John Mowbray Didcott ‘the jurisprudence of justification’ 1999(116)SALJ 416

‘Duncan Kennedy’s A critique of adjudication; A challenge to the business as usual approach to South African lawyers’ 2000(117) SALJ 497

‘Has any author been subject to a ruderer review’ 2001(118) SALJ  691

“Residence based system of tax: is it up to the e commerce challenge?” 2002 Acta Juridica 161

“Socio Economic Rights: the record after 10 years” 2004 New Zealand Journal of Public and International Law 47

“Dworkin: a viable theory of adjudication?” 2004 Acta Juridica   96

Adjudicating the socio-economic rights in the South African constitution –deference lite.’ 2006 (22) SAJHR 301

‘Transformative constitutionalism and customary and common law’ 2010 (26) SAJHR 403(with Karl Klare)

South African constitutional jurisprudence – the first 15 years’ 2010 (6) Annual Survey of Law and Social Science  285

Changing the role of the corporation: A journey away from adversarialism 2012 Acta Juridica 306(with Michelle Le Roux)

How many positivist legal philosophers can make to dance on the head of a pin? 2012 (129) SALJ 59

The importance of reading – A rebuttal to the jurisprudence of Anton Fagan 2013 (130) SALJ 52

Legal transformation and legal education: Congruence or Conflict 2015 Acta Juridica 172

Separation of powers: A riposte to Prof Cachalia 2016 SALJ 258

Twenty years of constitutionalism 2015 New York Law School Journal

Rents, power and  governance  in global value chains 2018 (24)Journal  of World Systems Research (with R. Kaplinsky and M Morris)

Constitutionalism and decolonisation 2018 SAJHR – in press

Taxation and Inequality: can the former redress the latter   2018 Humanity  in press

Davis, Dennis M. ‘Authoritarian Constitutionalism: The South African Experience’ in Helena Alviar Garcia, Gunter Frankenberg (eds.) Authoritarian Constitutionalism: Comparative Analysis and Critique (Edward Elgar, 2019) pp. 57-75

Davis, Dennis and Karl Klare ‘Critical Legal Realism in a Nutshell’ in Emilios Christodoulidis, Ruth Dukes and Marco Goldoni (eds.) Research Handbook on Critical Legal Theory (Edward Elgar, 2019) pp. 27-43

Davis, Dennis ‘The pigeonhole dictated by logos: behind the text in Volks v. Robinson’ 2019 African Yearbook of Rhetoric 9 pp. 73-85

Davis, Dennis ‘Taxation and Equality: The Implications for Redressing Inequality and the Promotion of Human Rights’ 2019 Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism, and Development 10(3) pp. 465-478

Barnard-Naude, Jaco and Dennis Davis ‘Jurisprudence in an African Context, David Bilchitz’ South African Law Journal 136 pp. 191-199


1980 Cambridge (Crime in the Third World)

1981 Durban (Criminal Justice)

1980 Cape Town (SA Law Students)

1981 Cape Town (Tax Planning)

1982 Warwick (Crime, Labour & History)

1983 Cape Town (Psychiatry)

1983 Cape Town (Marine Insurance)

1984 Cape Town (Carnegie - Labour Law)

1984 Kent (Critical Legal Studies)

1985 Coimbra (Portugal) (European Critical Legal Studies) (with C H Albertyn)

1986 Kent (Critical Legal Studies)

1986 Cape Town & Witwatersrand (Law Students’ Conference)

1986 Pretoria (Bill of Rights Conference)

1987 University of Western Cape (Law & Repression)

1987 University of Witwatersrand (The Kairos Document & the legitimacy of the SA State)

1987 Orange Free State (Philosophy of Law)

1988 UCT (Labour under a State of Emergency)

1989 Harare (Law in a Post-Apartheid South Africa)

1989 UK (Law Under Apartheid)

1990 Germany (Taxation and Re-distribution)

1991 Amsterdam (Political Trials)

1991 Durban (Labour Law: The record of the Industrial Court)

1992 (Labour Law: Unbundling & Antitrust Legislation)

1992 Harvard Transition Towards Democracy

1992 Durban Socio Economic Rights

1993 Onyati Transition & Democracy

1994 Phoenix Law in Society

1994 Harvard: Labour Law and Globalisation

1995 and 2005 Administrative Law, Cape Town

1996 Law & Society, Glasgow

1996 International Labour Law, Kent

1997 International Labour Law, Miami

1999 2002 and 2005 Law and development conferences at Harvard Law School

2002 International Labour Law.  Sicily

2002 Dworkin conference   in Cape Town

2003 Human rights and litigation: Belfast

2003 Constitutional Law; Wellington New Zealand

2004 Twenty – five year conference of SAJHR, Johannesburg

2005 Administrative law conference, UCT

2006 Competition Law conference, Fordham (with E Fox )

2007 TRC (Wisconsin)

2009 Globalisation (Brown)

2010 Competition Law (Fordham)

2011 Property (Texas)

2013 Competition (Fordham)

2013 International Labour Law (Barcelona); 2015 (AMSTERDAM)

2014 20 Years of the Constitution (New York)

2014 Legal Education (Cape Town)

2014 and 2015 and 2018   Concurrencies Competition Law (NYU)

2015, 2017 International Fiscal Association (Judges Panel)

2016 Competition Law (in honour of Eleanor Fox) (Vienna)

2016 Keynote speaker concurrences at NYU

2010-2017 International global governance workshops Harvard Law School, the latest being in 2017 and 2018 in Bangkok

Delivered named lectures at Univ. of Natal (1994) & Rhodes (1998). Dickenson Law School, USA(2004)  Morti Malherbe memorial lecture Stellenbosch 2013. Keynote address Australian Federal Judges Conference  Melbourne 2014

Keynote Presentation to OECD plenary on competition law and public interest Paris 2015  

Speaker at plenary session at OECD conference on competition law in 21st century. Paris 2017





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