The proud voice of the attorneys’ profession for 60 years

February 24th, 2016
Mapula Thebe – editor

Mapula Thebe – editor

2016 marks the year De Rebus achieves a tremendous milestone of 60 years in existence. Initially named De Rebus Procuratoriis (about the affairs of attorneys), the journal was first distributed to members of the then Law Society of the Transvaal in September 1956. The journal was distributed nationally in 1968 with the word ‘procuratoriis’ having been dropped from its masthead along the way.

As early as 1948, the Association of Law Societies (ALS) noted in the minutes of its annual meeting that a journal was necessary to serve as a mouthpiece for the association and to serve as a link between the association and the members of the attorneys’ profession. At that stage the four statutory law societies were communicating with their members by means of newsletters.

In 1955 Allen Snijman and Theo Boezaart – respectively President and Secretary of the then Incorporated Law Society of the Transvaal (ILST) – attended the British Empire and Commonwealth Law Conference in London and it was there that the idea of publishing a monthly ‘information letter’ for Transvaal attorneys was conceived.

After initial dissention about the cost of such an undertaking, Mr Snijman and Mr Boezaart received permission from the ILST council to proceed publishing the monthly ‘information letter’. The main purpose of the newsletter was to disseminate notices from and news about the work of the council to all Transvaal attorneys.

The first issue, with the title De Rebus Procuratoriis and with Mr Boezaart as Editor, was distributed in September 1956. Mr Snijman wrote: ‘May this journal rapidly become the recognised organ of official communication and at the same time the vehicle of a bond of fellowship and loyalty to the tenets of our profession. Read it, advertise your requirements in it, send in contributions to it and let us build it into something worthy of the intellect it represents’ (1956 (Sept) DRP 1).

The first Editorial Committee comprised Mr Snijman and council member George Cook. In October 1957 the committee was expanded to include Paai van Niekerk, Bill Hitge and Monty Knoll.

Besides the editorial and a letters column, the early issues almost exclusively carried information on the activities of the council and circle councils. A ‘small advertisements’ section was also included.

In 1958, as a result of an increasing demand for De Rebus from attorneys outside the Transvaal, it was decided that non-members of the ILST could subscribe to De Rebus.

Throughout the years the journal has seen a number of changes, from the profession and the format it is published. De Rebus has grown from a newsletter to a publication that is published on a number of platforms. During the upcoming months, we will be writing snippets detailing the growth of the journal during the decades.

  • See also 50th anniversary supplement (2006 (Sept) DR).


Would you like to write for De Rebus?

De Rebus welcomes article contributions in all 11 official languages, especially from legal practitioners. Practitioners and others who wish to submit feature articles, practice notes, case notes, opinion pieces and letters can e-mail their contributions to

The decision on whether to publish a particular submission is that of the De Rebus Editorial Committee, whose decision is final. In general, contributions should be useful or of interest to practising attorneys and must be original and not published elsewhere. For more information, see the ‘Guidelines for articles in De Rebus’ on our website (

  • Please note that the word limit is now 2000 words.
  • Upcoming deadlines for article submissions: 22 March and 18 April 2016.

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2016 (March) DR 3.

De Rebus