Statement by the Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Ihron Rensburg, University of Johannesburg

​​​​​​​​​​​​I am pleased to inform you that Professor Patrick O’Brien, incumbent Executive Dean of Law, has accepted the position of University General Counsel. This Management Executive position has been created following much consideration, since October of last year, of its import as the University elevates its global excellence. ​

The University General Counsel will provide world-class legal services to the University of Johannesburg (UJ) arising from the activities of our faculties, and professional and support divisions, as well as our flourishing commercialization activities. The goal is also to elevate to global excellence our corporate governance and compliance. The University General Counsel will be expected to alert appropriate persons to the existence of legal issues that may affect them and the University so that they can fulfil their missions, meet their goals and minimise risk. Furthermore, the University General Counsel will ensure that the University is kept abreast and risk is equally minimised in respect of critical legislative and regulatory developments in and affecting the higher education sector. In order to fulfil this role effectively, the General Counsel will be supported by in-house attorneys and support staff, and will procure the services of outside attorneys on a needs basis.

Professor O’Brien will assume the position of University General Counsel on 1 January 2016. This will allow for a managed and effective transition as we initiate the recruitment process for his successor.

Professor O’Brien obtained the B.Com., LL.B. and LL.M. degrees from the University’s legacy institution, Rand Afrikaans University. After completing his articles of clerkship, he was admitted as an Attorney of the High Court of South Africa in 1989. He was granted right of appearance in the High Court of South Africa in 1997. He joined the Rand Afrikaans University in 1989 as a senior lecturer, and after having completed his LL.D. in the Law of Contract in 1996, he was first promoted to Associate Professor in 1998, and then to Professor in 2001.

He was Head of the Department of Mercantile Law from 2003 to 2008 and also served as Deputy Dean from 2004 to 2007. As a practising attorney, he is a member of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces and the Johannesburg Attorneys Association. He was granted honorary membership of the Association of Insolvency Practitioners of Southern Africa in recognition of his services to the insolvency industry. He has published in the fields of the Law of Insolvency, Law of Obligations, Road Accident Compensation and Law of Civil Procedure. He has lectured in several modules in the Departments of Private Law and Mercantile Law and served terms as editor of the Journal of South African Law and the South African Insolvency Law Review.

I know that you will join me in congratulating Professor O’Brien on his imminent new role as University General Counsel.

Kind regards and best wishes.
Yours sincerely,
Prof Ihron Rensburg​

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