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“For the month of June we will be featuring the second female academic in our series honouring Female academics who have made a significant contribution to legal academia, and beyond.


Professor Vivenne Lawack


Please tell us a little about yourself


I graduated with a BJuris (cum laude) LLB ( cum laude) from the former University of Port Elizabeth in 1993 and 1995 respectively. I then did my LLM in one year, on Electronic Payment Systems in South African Law, done in 1996 and graduating in April 1997. This sparked my interest in electronic payments and electronic banking law, very new at the time. In 2001 graduated with a LLD from Unisa, with a thesis titled: “Aspects of Internet Payment Instruments”, one of the first in our field.

As an academic I had a keen interest in the intersection of my research and how it infused my teaching and curriculum, leading to the late Prof Frans Marx and I starting IT Law as a module in the early 2000s and me amending the Law of Negotiable Instruments module to Law of Payment Instruments.

When I was recruited by the South African Reserve Bank in 2002, I maintained my academic work through Unisa as a Research Associate and fulfilled my wish of being an engaged scholar, which I am still to this day.

Returning as Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2008 ( now NMU) and becoming President of the South African Law Deans Association ( SALDA) from 2009 until 2015 provided the opportunity to play a role in legal education reform nationally. I was fortunate to co-chair the National LLB Summit with the late Nic Swart, to be a part of the national task team on the LLB as well as the CHE drafting team on the LLB Unit Standards. As we are aware, these National LLB Standards were adopted by the CHE and all Faculties of Law went through the National LLB Review process.

At present, I have joined University of the Western Cape (UWC) as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic on 1 April 2015. I am also a professor in the Mercantile and Labour Law Department at UWC, teaching and supervising PhD/LLD students in Fintech Law and Regulation and publishing articles and books in my field and loving combining my academic work with my academic leadership role! Very blessed!


I am also blessed to have received a Nelson Mandela University Alumni Achievers Award in 2021 - there is no award better than from one’s alma mater. 


What advice do you have for emerging legal academics?


Work hard, stay humble and give back and pay it forward as much as you can. And if you struggle, read Vivienne Lawack, Hanlie Wessels and Robert Craig “Impossible Bosses: Secret Strategies to Deal with 8 Archetypal Managers”


Finally my work with my 12 PhD students : I will not change this for any money in the world. Watch out for our upcoming book Vivienne Lawack (managing editor) Fintech Law and Regulation: An African Perspective Juta: Cape Town 2023!”

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