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Dee Smythe

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Dee Smythe BA LLB (Cape Town) JSM JSD (Stanford)
Director of The Centre for Law and Society & Professor of Public Law
Dee.Smythe@uct.ac.za
Tel: +27 21 650 5680

Dr Dee Smythe is Director of the Centre for Law and Society (previously Law, Race and Gender Research Unit) and a Professor in the Department of Public Law. Prior to joining the Faculty of Law in 2009 she was Principal Researcher at the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit in UCT's Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dee’s research spans a range of areas at the intersection of law, policy, and social justice. It is particularly concerned with understanding the operation of South Africa’s transitioning legal system, ranging from legal education, through legal practise, the operation of the police, prosecution and criminal courts, to vernacular dispute management mechanisms. She is an expert on state responses to gender-based violence, with a specific focus on sexual offences. She has also written on HIV/AIDS, crime prevention, and police transformation, and convened the African Network of Constitutional Lawyers' focus group on Women, Equality and Constitutionalism.

In 2004 Dee was a Fulbright Fellow at Stanford Law School and in 2009 she was awarded the UCT College of Fellows' Young Researcher Award for outstanding scholarly work by a young academic. In the same year the work of the Gender, Health and Justice Research Unit was recognised with UCT's inaugural Social Responsiveness Award. In 2011 the Law, Race and Gender Research Unit's (now Centre for Law and Society) Rural Women's Action Research Project, established with Aninka Claassens in 2009, was also recognised with UCT's Social Responsiveness Award.

Dee convenes the interdisciplinary postgraduate LLM/MPhil Programme in Criminology, Law and Society, on which she teaches a course on Law and Society in Africa. She also teaches in the LLB and supervises masters and doctoral candidates.

Teaching

  • Women and the Legal System (LLB Final Year Research Seminar)
  • Criminal Procedure (LLB)
  • Sexual Violence and the Law (LLM/MPhil course)
  • Law and Society in Africa (LLM/MPhil course)

 

Dee has also taught classes for courses provided by the Faculty of Health Sciences' Division of Forensics and Toxicology (Medicina Forensis, LLB), Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Legal and Clinical Issues in Gender-Based Violence, MBBCh), Department of Public Health (Women's Human Rights; Sexual Violence: Law and Public Health Responses, MPH), the Faculty of Law, and Faculty of Humanities (Addressing Intersecting Vulnerabilities through Law and Policy Reform, MPhil in Diversity Studies, iNcudisa).

In addition, Dee has taught on the NYU-UCT Summer School, and facilitated learning on violence against women, HIV/AIDS, and access to housing for Stanford's Cape Town programme. She co-convened (with Kathleen Kelly) Stanford Law School's International Human Rights Clinic.

Supervision

Dee supervises masters and doctoral topics with a socio-legal orientation, particularly those involving qualitative research methods. Of particular interest are all aspects of women's engagement with the law (sexual offences, domestic violence, domestic homicide, sex work, sexual harassment, workplace issues, impact of customary law, etc); expert evidence and the use of empirical evidence in judicial, legislative and policy-decisions; and topics dealing with processes for ensuring effective public participation in democratic processes and institutions. Specific post-graduate research opportunities also exist through the Centre for Law and Society’s work. See www.cls.uct.ac.za

 

Selected Publications

BOOKS

Smythe, D, Rape Unresolved, UCT Press (in press, 2015)

Rohrs, S & Smythe, D (eds) In Search of Equality: Women, Law & Society in Africa, UCT Press (2014).

Claassens, A. & Smythe, D (eds) Marriage, Land and Custom, Cape Town: Juta (2013) also published as Acta Juridica 2013.

Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, 1st revn 2014).

Artz, L., & Smythe, D., (eds) Should we consent? The politics of rape law reform in South Africa, Cape Town: Juta (2008)

 

JOURNAL SPECIAL EDITION

Smythe, D & Gould, C (eds) Special Edition: South African Crime Quarterly - focus on the Traditional Courts Bill, vol 35 (2011).

 

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Claassens, A. & Smythe, D. ‘Marriage, Land and Custom: What’s law got to do with it?’ in Acta Juridica (2013)

Burchell, J., Phelps, K. & Smythe, D. ‘Jurisdiction Spotlight: South Africa’, Journal of Commonwealth Criminal Law, 125-156 (2012)

Smythe, D. ‘Of classifications and sub-classifications: a response to Stone and Erasmus, and de Vos’, vol 79, 2012, Transformation: Critical perspectives on Southern Africa, 168-173 (2012)

Kelly, K., & Smythe, D., ‘Navigating Culture in the Field: Cultural Competency Training Lessons from the International Human Rights Clinic’, New York Law School Law Review (2011)

Artz, L., & Smythe, D., ‘Losing Ground: Attrition in Rape Cases’, SA Crime Quarterly (2008) (republished in CP Nandini (ed) Rape and the Law, Amicus Books, Icfai University Press, India (2010)).

Artz, L., & Smythe, D., ‘Case Attrition in Rape Cases: A Comparative Analysis’, South African Journal of Criminal Justice 20(2) p158-181 (2007)

Smythe, D. & Artz, L., ‘Feminism v The State’, Agenda (2007)

Artz, L. & Smythe, D. ‘Bridges and barriers: A five year retrospective on the Domestic Violence Act’, Acta Juridica (also published as Advancing Women Rights eds C. Murray and M. O’Sullivan), p. 200-227 (2005)

Smythe, D & Artz, L. ‘Money matters: Structural problems with implementing the Domestic Violence Act’, Agenda, p. 24-33 (2005)

Smythe, DMoving Beyond 30 years of Anglo-American Rape Law Reforms: legal representation for victims of sexual offences’, South African Journal of Criminal Justice (2005)

Smythe, D ‘Missed Opportunities: Confiscation of Weapons in Domestic Violence Cases’, in SA Crime Quarterly (2004)

 

BOOK CHAPTERS

Smythe, D. & Rohrs, S. ‘In search of equality: women, law and society in Africa’ in Rohrs, S & Smythe, D (eds) In Search of Equality: Women, Law & Society in Africa, UCT Press (2014)

Artz, L & Smythe, D., South African law and policies supporting victims’ rights, in Peacock R (ed) Victimology in South Africa (2nd ed) (2013)

Claassens, A. & Smythe, D. ‘Marriage, Land and Custom: What’s law got to do with it?’ in Claassens, A. & Smythe, D (eds) Marriage, Land and Custom, Cape Town: Juta (2013; also published as Acta Juridica, 2013)

Smythe, D.Consent, capacity and credibility: incorporating mental disability into teaching on sexual offences and the law’, Disability Catalyst 3 (2013)

Smythe, D., Chapter 1, Definition and objects, in Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, rev 2014).

Phelps, P., and Smythe, D., Chapter 2, Rape, in Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, rev 2014).

De Souza, M., and Smythe, D., Chapter 7, Incest, in Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, rev 2014).

De Souza, M., and Smythe, D., Chapter 20, Defences and sentencing, in Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, rev 2014).

De Souza, M., and Smythe, D., Chapter 30, Transitional provisions, in Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, rev 2014).

Smythe, D., Chapter 31, Transitional provisions relating to trafficking in persons for sexual purposes, in Smythe, D. and Pithey, B (eds) Sexual Offences Commentary, Cape Town: Juta (2011, rev 2014).

Smythe, D., ‘Uncooperative Systems: Insights from South Africa’s Attempts to Deal with Sexual Violence’, in Faraldo Cabana and Iglesias Skulj (eds) Gender and Criminal Justice: An International Perspective/ Genero y sistema penal: Una perspective internacional, Granada: Comaras (2010)

Smythe, D., Artz, L., Combrinck, H., Doolan, K. & Martin, L. ‘Caught Between Policy & Practice: Health & Justice Responses to Gender-Based Violence’ in Van Niekerk, Suffla and Seedat (eds) Crime, Violence & Injury Prevention in South Africa: Data to Action. Tygerberg: Medical Research Council (2008)

Smythe, D & Waterhouse, S. ‘Policing Sexual Offences: Policies, Practices and Potential Pitfalls’, in Artz & Smythe (eds) Should we consent? The politics of rape law reform in South Africa, Cape Town: Juta (2008)

Artz, L. & Smythe, D. ‘Should we Consent?’, in Artz & Smythe (eds) Should we consent? The politics of rape law reform in South Africa, Cape Town: Juta (2008)

Smythe, D., ‘South Africa’s Response to Domestic Violence’, in Benninger-Budel (ed) State Obligations to end Violence Against Women (Leiden: Martinus Nijhof) (2008)

Artz, L. & Smythe, D ‘Rape and Sexual Assault’, in Kaliski, S. (ed) Oxford Handbook of Psycho-Legal Assessment 146-158 (London: Oxford University Press) (2006)

Artz, L & Smythe, D. ‘South African Legislation Supporting Victims’ Rights’, in Davis, L. & Snyman, R. (eds) South African Handbook on Victimology (Pretoria: Van Schaiks) (2005)

Smythe, D & Parenzee, P. ‘Acting Against Domestic Violence’, in Dixon, W & Van der Spuy, E (eds) Justice Gained? Crime and Crime Control in South Africa’s Transition (Cape Town: Juta) (2004).

 

RESEARCH REPORTS

Levy J., Smythe D. & Jefthas D. HIV/AIDS and the Law for Magistrates (2008).

Smythe, D., Jefthas, D., Hoffman-Wanderer, Y., Artz, L., Chisala, S., HIV & Sexual Offences: Challenges for Magistrates, UCT (2007)

Artz, L., Smythe, D & Doolan K. Crime Prevention Indicators for Youth at Risk, Alliance for Crime Prevention (2006).

Artz, L., Combrinck, H., Gallinetti J., and Smythe D. Commissioned report on compliance with the Domestic Violence Act at 29 Priority Police Stations in the Eastern Cape (SAPS/EU) (2005) p1-300.

Artz, L., Smythe, D & Leggett T. Integrated Rape Case Management, (Pretoria: UNICEF) (2004)

Parenzee, P & Smythe, D. Domestic Violence and Development: Looking at the Farming Context (Cape Town: OSF and Institute of Criminology, University of Cape Town) (2002)

 

PRESS AND NEWSLETTERS

Nakhjavani S and Smythe D, Our Rusted Ubuntu has Failed Vulnerable Refugees of Soetwater, Weekend Argus 27 July 2008 (Translated into Afrikaans and published as Eenheid in Diversiteit, Die Burger 30 July 2008) (dealing with reintegration of refugees following xenophobic violence in 2008).

Smythe D., Wrong Priorities, Business Day 19 November 2007 (dealing with compulsory HIV-testing of alleged sex offenders)

Smythe D. & Artz L., Sex offences bill a step forward but still flawed, Weekend Argus 11 August 2007 (analysis of the Sexual Offences Bill)

Smythe D., The truth behind those statistics, Mail & Guardian (dealing with SAPS rape statistics and crime reduction targets)

Smythe, D., The Problem of Attrition in Rape Cases, in News & Views for Magistrates (Cape Town: Law, Race and Gender Research Unit, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town) (2004)

Smythe, D Domestic Violence on Farms: A Challenge for the Criminal Justice System, in News & Views for Magistrates (Cape Town: Law, Race and Gender Research Unit, Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town) (2003)