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Death of 'brilliant' Judge Peet Nienaber

Publish date: 11 February 2019
Issue Number: 810
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Obituary

Peet Nienaber, a judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in SA, died after a long illness last week. In a shortened eulogy presented by Judge John Smalberger, also a former member of the SCA, on the Daily Maverick site, Nienaber is described as a brilliant academic, a fine lawyer and judge with an incisive mind. Smalberger says that ‘I was privileged to sit with him in quite a number of ... matters and can testify to his vast experience and legal knowledge ...’. Recounting some of his many achievements, Smalberger says: ‘One of Peet’s last arbitrations was an international arbitration heard in Singapore. It concerned a huge claim for damages against the Lesotho Government. Peet and two other internationally recognised arbitrators, one from England and one from New Zealand, formed the arbitration panel. The English and New Zealand arbitrators found for the claimant. Peet wrote a dissenting award dismissing the claim. Eventually, the matter went on appeal and Peet’s dissenting award was held to be correct and the award of the majority was set aside. The result was a feather in Peet’s cap and one sensed that he was rightly pleased with the vindication of his views, although he never boasted about it, as it was not in his nature to do so.’

Eulogy on the Daily Maverick site