South Africa

FEEL GOOD | 25-year-old becomes youngest person to obtain law doctorate at Pretoria University

Scholar Dr Marko Svicevic has set a new record for the youngest person (25 years and three months) to ever obtain a Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from the University of Pretoria’s Faculty of Law.

In a statement, the university said Svicevic had obtained a BA (Law) degree in 2015, completed his LLB degree in 2017, and completed his doctoral thesis in January this year.

He had registered for an LLM through research in the Department of Public Law in 2018, while working as a research associate under Professor Erika de Wet – who was the first incumbent of the South African Research Chairs Initiative (SARChI) in International Constitutional Law – between January 2016 and December 2019.

“After a year of LLM studies, Professor De Wet suggested that, given the quality and nature of the research, we should apply to upgrade the study to an LLD. The upgrade was successful, and I submitted my thesis for examination in November 2019, titled ‘United Nations Security Council authorisation of regional enforcement action: Legal implications of Resolution 2337 (2017) in The Gambia’,” Svicevic said. 

“My thesis examined and scrutinised United Nations Security Council authorisation of the use of force in international law, with an expanded focus on the practices of African regional and sub-regional organisations. Ultimately, it proposed that explicit United Nations Security Council authorisation is a well-established practice, and concluded against implicit and retroactive instances of such authorisation.”

‘Extremely proud’

De Wet is “extremely proud” of Svicevic. She describes him as a very dedicated and mature individual with an exceptional analytical ability, sense of discipline and work ethic for someone so young. 

“The mere fact that Svicevic’s LLM through research was upgraded to a doctoral project after one year underscores that he is an exceptional talent. Moreover, merely 11 months later, he submitted a doctoral thesis which received extensive praise by all three examiners for its quality. I have no doubt that Svicevic’s research will make a significant contribution to issues pertaining to the use of force and peace enforcement operations in the African context.”

Svicevic will graduate on April 9 at the university’s Autumn Graduation Ceremonies, and plans to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Johannesburg.

De Wet relocated to the University of Graz in Austria in January.

– Compiled by Riaan Grobler

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