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Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Town

Professor Visser is UCT's deputy vice chancellor (research and internationalisation), professor of private law at the institution and a recipient of a National Research Foundation A2 rating. His main work has been in the law of unjustified enrichment, comparative law and legal history. He has contributed to the creation of the comparative law of unjustified enrichment as an international field of study and has helped to foster an understanding of how legal systems that combine both English law and European civil law (such as South African and Scots law) can contribute to legal development in the rest of the world.

He studied at the University of Pretoria, from which he holds the degrees B.Iuris, LLB and LLD, and at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands, where he obtained a further doctorate in law. He has taught at UCT since 1984. He is a former dean of the Faculty of Law (1996-1998) and a sometime holder of the Huber C Hurst Eminent Visiting Scholar Chair at the University of Florida (2001) and was elected as an honorary professor in the University of Aberdeen for the period 2001-2006. From 2003 until taking up his present post as DVC, he was a visiting professor at the University of Melbourne, teaching comparative law on an annual basis. He was elected as an Alexander von Humboldt fellow on three occasions (1990, 1994 and 2004) and this allowed him to do research at the University of Tübingen and the University of Regensburg.

He was co-editor of the South African Law Journal from the end of 1999 until he took up his present post and he continues to serve on the boards of various scholarly journals. He has more than a 100 publications to his credit, including several books, of which Unjustified Enrichment (2008) counts as his most important contribution.

He is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and of the World Academy of Arts and Science, an associate member of the International Academy of Comparative Law and a Fellow of the University of Cape Town.


  • –present
    Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Cape Town