Professor Emiritis AJ Kerr
BA (Unisa), LLB (Wits), LLM, PhD (Natal), LLD (honoris causa) (Rhodes)
Advocate of the High Court of South Africa
Professor Emeritus and Fellow of the University
Professor Kerr registered for a BA degree at what was then known as the Rhodes University College in 1939, and thus celebrated his 65th year of association with Rhodes this year. He was appointed as a lecturer in the Department of Law at the then Rhodes University College in 1955, and promoted to senior lecturer in 1958. He was promoted to the rank of Professor of Law on 1st October 1968. He was Head of the Department of Law from 1st June 1984 to 31st December 1987, and Dean of the Faculty from 1st June 1984 to 30th June 1990. He has acted as Vice-Principal for three periods and as Principal of the University for short periods when both the Vice Principal and Principal were absent from Grahamstown. On 8th February 1993, the honorary status of Senior Counsel was conferred upon Professor Kerr by the State President, in recognition of his services to the law. In addition, in recognition of his remarkable service to Rhodes, Professor Kerr was awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) in 1995, thus following in the footsteps of his father Alexander Kerr, who had been awarded an LLD (hc) by Rhodes in 1961.
Professor Kerr's research interests embrace Contract, Agency, Sale, Lease, and Customary Law. Notwithstanding his retirement some years ago, Professor Kerr retains an office in the Faculty and remains its most prolific author. His first two books were The Native Common Law of Immoveable Property in South Africa (Butterworths, 1953) and The Native Law of Succession in South Africa (1961). These two works were later combined under the title The Customary Law of Immoveable Property and of Succession (now published by Grocott and Sherry), and has run to three editions. In 1963, his jurisprudential work, Law and Justice, a Christian Exposition, was published. Perhaps his best-known and most influential books have been The Principles of the Law of Contract (Butterworths), now in its sixth edition (2002); The Law of Agency (Butterworths), his PhD thesis, and now in its third edition (1991); and The Law of Lease (1969) has now been subsumed into a larger work entitled The Law of Sale and Lease (Butterworths), now in its third edition (2004). Professor Kerr has also written a smaller work, Introduction to the Law of Contract Vol 1 and 2 (Grocott and Sherry, 1994), now into its second edition, designed for Commercial Law students and the preliminary note to the Lease section of The South African Encyclopaedia of Farms and Precedents other than Court Forms (Butterworths).
In addition, Professor Kerr is responsible for the chapter on Customary Family Law in Butterworths' Family Law Service (edited by Brigitte Clark), the contributions on Sale in The Law of South Africa Vol 24 (edited by Professor WA Joubert) and the re-issue of that volume, the contributions on Lease in the First Re-issue Vol 14 (the original text having been by J G Lötz). Professor Kerr has published well over 100 publications in leading law journals and other periodicals.