François du Bois

François du BoisProfessor 
Tel: +44 (0)116 2297405

Personal details

BA LLB (Stellenbosch) MA BCL (Oxford)

I joined the University of Leicester in July 2012, having previously held appointments at the Universities of Nottingham (2007-2012) and Cape Town (1995-2005) as well as at SOAS (1991-1995).

My recent research has concentrated on three intersecting themes:

  • Theoretical reflection on the concepts and doctrines of private law, particularly in light of the growing impact of human rights
  • The structure of South Africa’s post-1994 legal system and its institutions in historical perspective
  • The jurisprudential evaluation of the tension between private and public modes of redress for individual injuries

The common core of these is a concern with the interaction between institutional and substantive legal developments, and its importance to understanding the social and political role of law. The results of this research have coalesced into the contention that an adequate account of private law, including in particular the law of obligations, must focus on the way in which it contributes to the common good.


  • Tort law
  • Contract law
  • Comparative law
  • Legal theory (especially the philosophy of private law)

PhD Supervision

  • The introduction of the good faith notion in English law: why and why not?, Ayesha Shakil
  • The duty to mitigate loss in Brazil, Marcelo Henrique Andrade



  • Contract Law
  • Tort Law


  • Comparative Law


You can access publications at my Social Science Research Network author page and my ResearchGate profile.

A full publication list is also available as a PDF.

Selected publications

  • ‘Punishment, reparation and the evolution of private law: The actio iniuriarum in a changing world’ 2019 Acta Juridica 229-282
  • ‘The Impact of Human Rights on English Contract Law’ in Luca Siliquini-Cinelli & Andrew Hutchison (eds) The Constitutional Dimension of Contract Law: A Comparative Perspective (New York: Springer Publishing, 2017) 1-37
  • ‘Contractual Obligation and the Journey from Natural Law to Constitutional Law’ 2015 Acta Juridica 281-312
  • ‘Tort Law Recovered? From Alan Brudner’s Revised Case for Tort Law to the Ethical Underpinnings of Liberal Democracy’ (2014) 1:2 Critical Analysis of Law 285-304
  • ‘Harassment: A Wrong without a Right’ in E Descheemaker & H Scott (eds) Iniuria and the Common Law (Oxford: Hart Publishing, 2013) 215-240.
  • ‘Private Law in the Age of Rights’ in Daniel Visser and Elspeth Reid (eds) Private Law and Human Rights in Scotland and South Africa (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2013) 12-36. (2012)
  • ‘Harassment: A Wrong without a Right’ in E Descheemaker & H Scott Iniuria and the Common Law (2012)
  • ‘Private Law in the Age of Rights’ in D Visser and E Reid (eds) Private Law and Human Rights in Scotland and South Africa (Edinburgh UP & Cape Town UP, 2012)
  • ‘Social Purposes, Fundamental Rights and the Judicial Development of Private Law’ in D Nolan and A Robertson (eds) Rights and Private Law (Hart) (2011) 89-114
  • Human Rights and the Tort Liability of Public Authorities’ 127 Law Quarterly Review 589-609 (PDF)  (This article was first published by Thomson Reuters Ltd in the Law Quarterly Review Vol 127 (October 2011) pp. 589-609 and is reproduced by agreement with the publishers.)
  • ‘State Liability in South Africa–A Constitutional Remix’ 25 Tulane European and Civil Law Forum (2010) 139-176
  • ‘Freedom and the Dignity of Citizens’ Acta Juridica (2008) 112-148
  • Justice and Reconciliation in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Cambridge University Press) (2008) 321pp (co-edited with Antje du Bois-Pedain)

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