Ismail Mahomed Law Reform Essay Competition

Top law students awarded the 2009 Ismail Mahomed prize for best law reform essay

The South African Law Reform Commission, in partnership with Juta & Co, has awarded the prestigious Ismail Mahomed Prize for Law Reform for 2009 to two law students at a ceremony held at the Constitutional Court on 16 April 2010. Among the dignitaries present at the ceremony were the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr Jeff Radebe, Madame Justice Yvonne Mokgoro, former judge of the Constitutional Court and Chairperson of the SALRC; Mrs Mahomed, the wife of the late Chief Justice; and Mr Enver Mahomed, the brother of the late Chief Justice with his family.

The Ismail Mahomed Prize for Law Reform is a joint venture between the South African Law Reform Commission and Juta & Co. The competition was established in honour of the late Chief Justice and former Chairperson of the South African Law Reform Commission. The aim of this competition, which is an annual event at the SALRC, is to encourage critical legal writing by students, while generating new innovative ideas for the reform of the law. The initiative also seeks to encourage legal scholarship and public dialogue on the link between law reform, human rights and the rule of law.

The 2009 winners are Mr Theo Steyn, an LLM graduate from the University of South Africa, for his essay entitled “Vat and e-Commerce - Still looking for answers?; and Mr Jonathan Parsonage, an LLB graduate from the University of Cape Town for his essay entitled “The shape of things to come? Ubuntu as a framework for the imposition of punishment in South Africa”. Both winners received gift vouchers worth R10 000 each, sponsored by Juta &Co.

The 2009 competition was launched in September 2009 and LLB and LLM students registered at any South African university were invited to submit essays proposing the reform of any area of the law. A panel consisting of Judge Willie Seriti (Vice-Chairperson of the SALRC and Chairperson of the Panel), Advocate Thuli Madonsela (Public Protector of the RSA), Professors Cathi Albertyn (Part-time Member, SALRC and Professor at WITS), Thandabantu Nhlapo (Deputy Vice-Chancellor, University of Cape Town), Managay Reddi (Dean: University of KwaZulu-Natal), and Pamela Schwikkard (Part-time Member: SALRC and Dean: University of Cape Town), and Ms Yasmin Sooka (Executive Director: Foundation for Human Rights) evaluated the 20 essays received. It was decided that the prize for the 2009 competition be awarded jointly to Messrs Steyn and Parsonage.


Left to right: Edmund Beerwinkel (Juta & Co); Theo Steyn (Joint winner); Grace Kironde (Juta & Co);
Justice Yvonne Mokgoro (Chairperson: SA Law Reform Commission);
Mr Jeff Radebe (Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development) and Jonathan Parsonage (Joint winner)


Mr Michael Palumbo, Secretary (Chief Executive Officer) SA Law Reform Commission


Left: Joint winners, Theo Steyn & Jonathan Parsonage


Theo Steyn


Jonathan Parsonage


Mr Michael Palumbo, Secretary (Chief Executive Officer);
Mr Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and Justice Yvonne Mokgoro (Chairperson)