- Title: The Law of Contract in South Africa (Wessels) Vol. I & Vol. II
- Author/Editor: The Right Hon. Sir JW Wessels; Edited by AA Roberts
- Publisher: Hortors Limited
- Reprinted in full (unedited) by Frank R Thorold (Pty) Ltd. / Thorolds Booksellers
- Original 1937 edition, reprinted in full
- Expertly bound in half-calf brown leather with red and green labels
- Stitch bound for durability
- Approx. 1300 pages (both volumes)
- Available exclusively from Frank R Thorold (Pty) Ltd. / Thorolds Booksellers
“This treatise on the Law of Contract in South Africa was commenced by the late Chief Justice while he was still on the Transvaal Bench, and presents the fruit of more than ten years of his leisure time. The book was completed and typed some twenty years ago; portions were re-written by the author and notes were from time to time added by him, but the work was abandoned more than fourteen years back until, in 1931, I was privileged to have the manuscript handed to me.
My original idea was to leave Sir John’s work untouched and add my own contributions entirely in footnotes. Unfortunately this has not been altogether possible, but, apart from amplification of the documentation, there has been little interference with the original text, and as to more than half the book, I had the advantage of consultation with the author.
Perhaps the most striking thing which emerged in the course of preparation of the press was the comparative significance of the changes that had to be made as a result of fourteen years of decisions. In a number of instances, controversial points coming up for the subsequent decisions were dealt with in judgments following closely the argument in the manuscript. In some cases, this was undoubtedly due to the fact that Sir John made the typescript available to brother judges.
The work of checking the thousands of references, inserting additional citations of English cases, adding translations of the numerous Latin passages, compiling tables and index, revising and proof-reading, proved a formidable task. A work of this magnitude requires a team of workers and the constant use of a library more complete than any which exists in South Africa if absolute accuracy and completeness are to be achieved. A few of the authorities cited could be be checked as they had been borrowed by Sir John and years since returned.
I am deeply indebted to Professor Colin Murray of the University of the Witwatersrand and his son Mr. Ian Murray, B.A., LL.B, D.C.L. They (and particularly the latter) devoted a great deal of time and trouble to going carefully through the galley proofs and making many valuable suggestions. I must also express my appreciation of the assistance by Mr. Advocate Otto Beyers and Dr. Maurice Bliss, of the Pretoria Bar, in checking references. My wife, too, has devoted many weary hours to checking and proof-reading.
The size of the book has been somewhat reduced by printing more on a page than was originally arranged for, so that the volumes should be unwieldy. Volume I contains the whole of Formation, Operation and Discharge of Contract, leaving Mora, Breach, Remedies, Penalties, Quasi-contracts, Suretyship and Sale for Volume II.
The division of the subject matter and method of treatment make it undesirable to have a separate index and table of cases for each volume. The full index and table of cases will appear at the end of the second volume, but a general index to Volume I has been inserted for use until the next volume appears” – THE EDITOR, Pretoria, 10th December, 1936.