PROFESSOR SIR TB SMITH EN DIE ONTWIKKELING VAN DIE SKOTSE REG, OFTEWEL, WAT MAAK ’n REGSAKADEMIKUS SUKSESVOL

Du plessis, Jacques (2006-03)

CITATION: Du Plessis, J. 2006. Professor Sir TB Smith en die ontwikkeling van die Skotse reg, oftewel, wat maak 'n regsakademikus suksesvol?. Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif 17(3):532–540.

The original publication is available at https://journals.co.za/content/journal/ju_slr

Article

INLEIDING: Die Skotse juris Professor Sir Thomas (TB) Smith QC (1915 - 1988) se nalatenskap is omstrede. Terwyl sommige krities staan teenoor die sterk klem wat hy geplaas het op die Romeinse, teenoor Engelse, wortels van die Skotse reg, het ander weer groot respek vir die pogings wat hy aangewend het om hierdie stelsel op ’n meer beginsel-gebaseerde grondslag te plaas. Die doel van hierdie bydrae is om aan die hand van die bogenoemde bundel bydraes deur Skotse en buitelandse regsgeleerdes, waarvan sommige hom persoonlik geken het, ’n paar gedagtes te opper oor hierdie betwiste nalatenskap. Veral interessant, vanuit ’n Suid- Afrikaanse perspektief, is om dit te kontrasteer met die´ van sy tydgenoot, en vriend, Professor JC de Wet (1912-1990) van Stellenbosch, en hieruit ’n paar afleidings te maak oor faktore wat die sukses van regsakademici kan beı¨nvloed.

The Scottish jurist Professor Sir Thomas (TB) Smith QC (1915-1988) has left a contested legacy. While some dismiss him as a neo-civilian nationalist, who held unrealistic views about both the past and future of Scots law, others have greatly admired his efforts in promoting its principled development, especially during a rather dark age of Scottish legal scholarship. This note comments on aspects of Smith's legacy in the light of the recent publication of Elspeth Reid & David L Carey Miller (eds) <i>A Mixed Legal System in Transition-TB Smith and the Progress of Scots Law&lt;/i&gt; Edinburgh University Press 2005. This collection of essays by Scottish and foreign scholars, of whom a number knew him personally, contains the first sustained attempt at evaluating Smith's achievements and failures, thereby introducing more substance in a debate which for long has been clouded by emotion. Of particular interest, from a South African perspective, is to contrast Smith's legacy with that of his contemporary and friend, Professor JC de Wet (1912-1990) of Stellenbosch, and to draw some conclusions about factors which influence the success of legal academics.

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