Professor Emiritis ID Schafer
Professor Emeritus Ivan Schäfer
BA LLB (Rhodes) PhD (Natal)
Ivan Schäfer completed a BA and LLB at Rhodes in the 1960s. After a stint as a magistrate and then Senior Public Prosecutor in Bulawayo, in 1970 he returned to Grahamstown to serve articles. While he was doing so he lectured in the Faculty on a part-time basis. He was appointed in a permanent capacity as a Senior Lecturer in 1972. It soon became clear after his permanent appointment that he was turning his attention to Family Law, on which his doctoral thesis on "The Concept of Family Courts in South Africa", submitted to Natal University, was written. He was appointed to the rank of professor in 1984, and thereafter he became one of South Africa's foremost authorities on Family Law. He was asked, over a number of years, to advise the Government on the establishment of the office of Family Advocate and to assist in the drafting of the regulations governing the office. He was for a time Family Advocate for the Supreme Court of South Africa (Eastern Cape Division). His book on The Law of Access to Children was a standard work often consulted by practitioners. (The book is now in a second edition, updated and written by his son, Lawrence.)
He contributed a chapter to Andrew Bainham and David Pearl Frontiers of Family Law (1992), and was co-author of chapter 3 in The Law of Children and Young Persons in South Africa (ed JA Robinson (1997)). From 1988 to 1997 he edited the Butterworths Family Law Service as the founding editor. His other chief interest, on which he lectured for the whole period of his service to the Faculty, was the general principles of criminal law. From 1988 to 1995 he was a conscientious and hardworking Head of Department. In 1997 he retired from the Faculty, and was made a Professor Emeritus at the end of that year in recognition of his exceptional service to the Faculty and the University.
Upon leaving the Faculty, he once again joined the ranks of the attorneys’ profession. He ran a successful practice in Grahamstown for a number of years, and at the same time continued to lecture in the Faculty on a part-time basis, especially in the law of property and conveyancing, which became his chief practical interests. He held the position of Deputy Director of the Rhodes Legal Aid Clinic from 2005 to March 2007. Apart from a very small gap here and there, he lectured in the Faculty for a period of 35 years. He now runs an attorney’s practice in Port Alfred.