Three leading talents secure UCT Book Award

26 April 2004

A dense, 2 650-page, three-volume work has scooped this year's UCT Book Award.

Commentary on the Companies Act was co-authored by UCT's Professors Geoff Everingham (accountancy), the late Mike Blackman and Richard Jooste (both commercial law), and was published in 2002. It was Blackman's second such honour. He won a UCT Book Award in 1998 for his book Companies (in Law of South Africa, first re-issue, Volume 4, parts 1, 2 and 3).

In his citation, dean of law Professor Hugh Corder alluded to the significance of the work in the legal field.

"With the effects of globalisation and the increasing power of trans-national corporations, the legal systems of the world are under great pressure to ensure a degree of fairness, responsibility and openness in the governance of their affairs. South African corporation law is well in line with modern developments in the leading legal systems of the world."

He continued: "It is evident in the breadth, literary quality, comprehensiveness and incisiveness of this work, which sets it apart as something truly extraordinary. It is clear that this book has rapidly taken its place as the primary reference work for both the advanced study and the high-level practice of company law in South Africa and that it is the boldly critical and usefully comparative approach, which infuses the whole work, which adds immensely to its stature."

Corder said that while the lead had been taken by the late Blackman, the substantial work represented the combined efforts and intellectual talents of three leading academics at UCT, in two different faculties.

In reviewing the book, a leading British academic company lawyer described it as a "tour de force". "The whole is therefore the ultimate in legal scholarship, factual comprehensiveness, contextual analysis and critical appraisal. As such, it manages to bridge the ever-difficult divide between the academic and practitioner.

"In short, this book is undoubtedly an outstanding work of reference, not only for those seeking access to South African company law, but also to an individual topic from a wider, all-embracing aspect – and if, as there unfortunately must be, an epitaph for Mike Blackman, this is the legal equivalent of St Paul's Cathedral and Sir Christopher Wren. Such knowledge, dedication and skill are rare and now they are rarer still."

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