M.S. Blackman’s essays on a liberal theory of law were written in South Africa the 1970s and 80s. The focus of three of the essays is H.L.A. Hart, noted Professor of Jurisprudence at Oxford University from 1952 to 1968.
The book demonstrates that Hart’s theory of the separability of law and morals was not merely an analytic observation but his positivistic theory ‘is the cornerstone of a liberal, open society and its critics are the enemies of that society’. Blackman further engages with the topic of a ‘closed society’, or as he put it, a society which has a ‘predetermined order of things’, in his inaugural lecture at the University of Cape Town on mercantile law and mercantile practice.
Prof M.S. Blackman (1939-2004) was a Fellow of the University of Cape Town. He was a professor at both UCT from 1984 until his death in 2004, and at the University of Natal in Pietermaritzburg. Born in Cape Town he was the son of a soldier and local builder’s merchant. He studied law at UCT, Harvard and Cambridge. He completed two PhDs, one in commercial law at UCT and the other in jurisprudence at the University of Cambridge. He was awarded the UCT Book Prize on two separate occasions, once in 1998 for his ‘Companies’ (in Law of South Africa, first re-issue Vol 4, parts 1, 2 and 3) and posthumously for his ‘Companies Act: Commentary’, which was co-authored by Prof Richard Jooste and Prof Geoffrey Everingham. He was also the co-author of ‘Henochsberg on the Companies Act’. 1987.