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Prof Jean Du Plessis

STAFF PROFILE

Position

Professor (Corporate Law)

Faculty

Faculty of Business and Law

Department

BL Deakin Law School

Campus

Geelong Waterfront Campus

Qualifications

Doctor of Law, Univ. of the Orange Free State, 1991
Master of Laws, Univ. of the Orange Free State, 1986
Bachelor of Law(s), Univ. of the Orange Free State, 1984
Baccalaureus Procurations, Univ. of the Orange Free State, 1982

Contact

Biography

Jean du Plessis is currently a Professor (Corporate Law) in the Deakin Law School. He studied in South Africa and obtained his Doctorate in Law (LLD) in 1991. He served as  Head of the Deakin Law School (2000-2002); was the President of the Corporate Law Teachers Association (CLTA) (2007 and 2008); and serverd on the Deakin University Council (2015-2017). Jean completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors' (AICD) Course in November 2011. He is currently teaching the units Corporate Governance, Corporate Law and Corporations Law at Deakin University.

Jean has spent extensive time doing research in the UK and in Germany, as an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellow (1996-current), in the areas of corporate law and corporate governance. He is the recipient of the Anneliese Maier Research Award (2013-2018) from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, fucussing his reseach during this period on the further internationalisation of the German corporate law and corporate governance models. He has published extensively in international refereed law review journals in the areas of corporate law and corporate governance. He published several books as co-author in Australia, Germany and South Africa.

Read more on Jean's profile

Biography summary

  • Professor (Corporate Law), Deakin Law School, Deakin University (2000-current)
  • Extraordinary Professor, Faculty of Law, University of the Western Cape, South Africa (2020-current)
  • Member of the Deakin Law School Executive Committee 2017-current
  • Director, LLM, Deakin Law School (2018-2021)
  • Director, International, Deakin Law School (2017-2019)
  • Director, Centre for Comparative Corporate Governance (CCCG), Deakin Law School (2016-2017)
  • Head of the Deakin Law School, Deakin University (2000-2002)
  • Associate Professor, Deakin University (1999)
  • Professor of Mercantile Law, Rand Afrikaans University (RAU) (now University of Johannesburg) (1991-1998)
  • Associate Professor, Department of Mercantile Law / Centre for Business Law, University of the Orange Free State (now the University of the Free State) (Bloemfontein) (Jan-Jun 1991)
  • Senior Lecturer, Department of Mercantile Law / Centre for Business Law, University of the Orange Free State (now the University of the Free State) (Bloemfontein) (1986-1990).

Career highlights

  • Head of the Deakin Law School, Deakin University, 2000-2003
  • Recipient of the Anneliese Maier Reseach Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (2013-2018) 
  • Professor of Law at the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg) and Deakin University  (1991 - current)
  • One of 8 Members asked to form an International Reference Group to assist the South African Government with its Corporate Law Reform Program (2004-2008)
  • National President of the Australian Corporate Law Teachers Association (CLTA), 2007-2008
  • Awarded the Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Reseachers in 1996.
  • Staff Elected Member to the Deakin University Council, 2012 - December 2015.
  • Council Elected Member to the Deakin University Council, January 2016 - December 2017.

Research interests

  • Corporate Law
  • Directors' duties and liability
  • Corporate Governance
  • Comparative corporate law and corporate governance
  • Corporate Governance and Integrated Reporting
  • Codetermination
  • Employee participation at supervisory board level

Affiliations

  • Member, Australian Corporate Law Teachers Association (ACLTA)
  • Senior Editor, 'Corporate Governance, Corporate Responsibilities and Law' of the Company and Securities Law Journal

Teaching interests

  • Corporate Governance
  • Company Law 
  • Company Directors
  • Business Organisations
  • Business Law
  • Commercial Law

Units taught

  • MLM706 - Corporate Governance (Postgraduate)
  • MLL331 - Corporate Law
  • MLC203 - Corporations Law

Knowledge areas

  • Corporate Law
  • Directors' duties and liability
  • Corporate Governance
  • Comparative corporate law and corporate governance
  • Corporate Governance and Integrated Reporting
  • Codetermination
  • Employee participation at supervisory board level

Conferences

Recent conference papers and public lectures 

  • 9 June 2020: VicBar Seminar, “The race is on again: Shareholder versus Stakeholder Primacy - a New Era for Codetermination and Employee Democracy after the COVID-19 crisis?”, Melbourne, Australia
  • 2 March 2020: University of Sydney, Ross Parsons Corporate Law Lecture, “The Purpose of the Corporation Redefined: Recent Developments in Australia and the US”, Sydney, Australia
     
  • 24-25 January 2019: "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Corporate Culture, Steinhoff and Carillion Case Studies and Australian Banking Commission’s Interim Report", Comparative Corporate Governance Conference 2019, Singapore
  • 4-5 February 2019: "Myths about underlying theories and principles of corporate law and other ways of recognising the interests of all stakeholders", 2019 Annual CLTA Conference, Auckland, New Zealand
  • December 2018: Series of Lectures and Seminars in China: Wuhan and Shanghai, China
  • 7-8 December 2018: International Commercial Law Center, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics (SUFE): “World Trends in Contemporary Corporate Governance: Evolution for Business and the Way Forward – Chinese State-owned enterprise governance as a focus”, Shanghai, China
  • 19 October 2018: Alexander von Humblodt Foundation, "Corporate Governance Codes: Self-determined, but are they fit for purpose?", After Dinner Presentation, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Annual Colloquium, Bonn, Germany
  • 21-22 September 2017: International Commercial Law Center, Shanghai University of Finance & Economics (SUFE), "The Corporation in a Changing World: Directors’ statutory duty to act in the best 'long-term' interests of the corporation", Shanghai, China
  • September 2017: Series of Lectures and Seminars in Hong Kong to audiences and students: Hong Kong Institute of Company Directors; Hong Kong Institute of Company Secretaries; CPA, Hong Kong and Law Society of HK, Hong Kong

Awards

  • Anneliese Maier Research Award from the German Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, EUR250,000, German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, 2013-2018
  • Alexander von Humboldt Research Scholarships Fellowships, 1996, 2003 and 2010
  • Medallion Award, President of the Corporate Law Teachers Association (CLTA), 2010.

Projects

  • Corporate profit distribution: Executive remunerarton, dividends, share buy-backs and non-executive employee remuneration
  • The best interests of the corporation, the purpose of the corporation and inclusive capitalism
  • Board structures and corporate governance models
  • Stakeholder primacy versus shareholder primacy
  • Responsible investment and integrated reporting
  • Corporate governance and the long term sustainable economic and social interests of the corporation
  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR)  

Publications

Filter by

2021

Board Composition: Between Independent Directors, Minority Representatives and Employee Representatives

Jean Du Plessis

(2021), pp. 144-178, Comparative corporate governance, London, Eng., B1

book chapter
2020

Legislated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in India: the law and practicalities of its compliance

Akanksha Jumde, Jean Du Plessis

(2020), pp. 1-28, Statute law review, Oxford, Eng., C1

journal article
2019

Some myths and fallacies regarding corporate law and corporate governance: have they been debunked in South Africa?

Jean Du Plessis

(2019), Vol. 3, pp. 40-61, Developments in commercial law : entrepreneurial law, Durban, South Africa, B1

book chapter

Directors' duty to act in the best interests of the corporation: 'hard cases make bad law'

Jean Du Plessis

(2019), Vol. 34, pp. 3-26, Australian journal of corporate law, Belconnen, A.C.T., C1

journal article
2017

Corporate governance codes under the spotlight

J Du Plessis, C Low

(2017), pp. 3-22, Corporate governance codes for the 21st Century: International perspectives and critical analyses, Berlin, Germany, B1-1

book chapter

Analyses, perspectives and jurisdictional overview

J Du Plessis, J Nel de Koker

(2017), pp. 1-31, Disqualification of company directors: a comparative analysis of the law in the UK, Australia, South Africa, the US and Germany, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

The United Kingdom

A Rühmkorf, J du Plessis

(2017), pp. 32-68, Disqualification of company directors: a comparative analysis of the law in the UK, Australia, South Africa, the US and Germany, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

Australia

T Blackie, J du Plessis

(2017), pp. 69-111, Disqualification of company directors: a comparative analysis of the law in the UK, Australia, South Africa, the US and Germany, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

South Africa

N Kilian, J du Plessis, J Nel de Koker

(2017), pp. 112-154, Disqualification of company directors: a comparative analysis of the law in the UK, Australia, South Africa, the US and Germany, Abingdon, Eng., B1

book chapter

The South African statutory derivative action: background, comparisons and application

J Du Plessis

(2017), pp. 261-281, Jopie: jurist, mentor, supervisor and friend, Claremont, South Africa, B1

book chapter

Corporate social responsibility and "contemporary community expectations"

J Du Plessis

(2017), Vol. 35, pp. 30-46, Company and securities law journal, Rozelle, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Delinquent directors' and 'directors under probation' : a unique South African approach regarding disqualification of company directors

J Du Plessis, P Delport

(2017), Vol. 134, pp. 274-295, South African law journal, Lansdowne, South Africa, C1

journal article

Whistleblowing reforms: a critical analysis of the current law and the new "bells and whistles" proposed

J Mathiopoulos, K Hogan, J Du Plessis

(2017), Vol. 35, pp. 261-276, Company and securities law journal, Rozelle, N.S.W, C1

journal article
2016

Halting the senseless civil war against white-collar offenders: "the conduct undermined the integrity of the markets" and other fallacies

M Bagaric, J Du Plessis, J Silver

(2016), pp. 1019-1090, Michigan State law review, East Lansing, Mich., C1

journal article

Defences and relief from liability for company directors: widening protection to stimulate innovation

J du Plessis, J Mathiopoulos

(2016), Vol. 31, pp. 287-318, Australian journal of corporate law, Chatswood, N.S.W., C1

journal article
2015

The case for and against mandatory gender quota legislation for company boards

J Du Plessis

(2015), Vol. 20, pp. 1-24, Deakin law review, Geelong, Vic., C1

journal article

Claiming damages from members of management boards in Germany : time for a radical rethink and possible lessons from Down Under?

J Du Plessis, N Cordes

(2015), Vol. 36, pp. 335-353, Company lawyer, London, Eng., C1

journal article

New trends regarding sustainability and integrated reporting for companies: what protection do directors have?

J Du Plessis, A Rühmkorf

(2015), Vol. 36, pp. 49-62, Company lawyer, London, Eng., C1

journal article
2014

Multiple layers of gender diversity on corporate boards : to force or not to force?

J du Plessis, J O'Sullivan, R Rentschler

(2014), Vol. 19, pp. 1-50, Deakin law review, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal article

A shareholder's contractual right to a dividend and a company's oppressive conduct in withholding dividend payments: Sumiseki Materials Co Ltd v Wambo Coal Pty Ltd

J Du Plessis, Alevras, Stephen

(2014), Vol. 32, pp. 552-559, Company and securities law journal, Sydney, N.S.W., C1

journal article

The payment of dividends : legal confusion, complexities and the need for comprehensive reform

S Alevras, J Du Plessis

(2014), Vol. 32, pp. 312-332, Company and securities law journal, Sydney, N.S.W., C1

journal article
2013

An untapped resource : promoting regional legal practice

R Coverdale, L Jordan, J du Plessis

(2013), Vol. 87, pp. 41-43, Law institute journal, Melbourne, Vic., C1

journal article
2012

Directors' liability for approving financial statements containing blatant incorrect items : lessons from Australia for all directors in all jurisdictions

J du Plessis, I Meaney

(2012), Vol. 33, pp. 13-24, Company lawyer, London, England, C1

journal article

Company law developments in South Africa : modernisation and some salient features of the Companies Act 71 of 2008

J du Plessis

(2012), Vol. 27, pp. 46-72, Australian journal of corporate law, Chatswood, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Mogale Alloys (Pty) Ltd v Nuco Chrome Boputhatswana (Pty) Ltd 2011 (6) SA 96 (GSJ)

P Badenhorst, J Du Plessis

(2012), Vol. 45, pp. 388-404, De jure, Pretoria, South Africa, C1

journal article

BOARD DIVERSITY OR GENDER DIVERSITY? PERSPECTIVES FROM EUROPE, AUSTRALIA AND SOUTH AFRICA

Jean Du Plessis, Ingo Saenger, Richard Foster

(2012), Vol. 17, pp. 207-249, DEAKIN LAW REVIEW, C1

journal article

PROVIDING LEGAL SERVICES TO RURAL AND REGIONAL SMALL BUSINESS: GAPS AND OPPORTUNITIES

Richard Coverdale, Lucinda Jordan, Jean Du Plessis

(2012), Vol. 17, pp. 283-306, DEAKIN LAW REVIEW, C1

journal article
2011

Open sea or safe harbour? American, Australian and South African business judgment rules compared (Part 1)

J du Plessis

(2011), Vol. 32, pp. 347-352, Company lawyer, London, Eng., C1

journal article

Open sea or safe harbour? American, Australian and South African business judgment rules compared (Part 2)

J Du Plessis

(2011), Vol. 32, pp. 377-383, Company lawyer, London, Eng., C1

journal article
2010

A comparative analysis of directors' duty of care, skill and diligence in South Africa and in Australia

J du Plessis

(2010), Vol. 2010, pp. 263-289, Acta juridica, Rondebosch, South Africa, C1

journal article

Revisiting the judge-made rule of non-interference in internal company matters

J du Plessis

(2010), Vol. 127, pp. 304-327, South African law journal, Capetown, South Africa, C1

journal article
2009

Corporate law and corporate governance lessons from the past : ebbs and flows, but far from 'the end of history' - Part 1

J Du Plessis

(2009), Vol. 30, pp. 43-51, Company lawyer, London, England, C1

journal article

Corporate law and corporate governance lessons from the past : ebbs and flows, but far from 'the end of history' - Part 2

J Du Plessis

(2009), Vol. 30, pp. 71-75, Company lawyer, London, England, C1

journal article

Reflections and perspectives on the South African close corporation as business vehicle for SMES

J Du Plessis

(2009), Vol. 15, pp. 250-275, New Zealand business law quarterly, Wellington, N.Z., C1

journal article
2007

German corporate governance in international and European context

J Du Plessis, B Großfeld, C Luttermann, I Saenger, O Sandrock

(2007), pp. 1-276, German Corporate Governance in International and European Context, A1

book

The stakeholder debate and directors' fiduciary duties

I Esser, J du Plessis

(2007), Vol. 19, pp. 346-362, SA mercantile law journal, Capetown, South Africa, C1

journal article
2005

Principles of contemporary corporate governance

J du Plessis, J McConvill, M Bagaric

(2005), New York, N.Y., A1

book

The law of insider trading in Australia

G Lyon, J du Plessis

(2005), Annandale, N.S.W., A1

book

The rise and fall of supervisory codetermination in Germany?

J du Plessis, O Sandrock

(2005), pp. 67-79, International company and commercial law review, London, England, C1

journal article

Corporate donations, the best interest of the company and the proper purpose doctrine

E Klein, J du Plessis

(2005), Vol. 28, pp. 69-97, University of New South Wales law journal, Kensington, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Towards real shareholder participation in contemporary corporate governance

J du Plessis, J McConvill, M Bagaric

(2005), Vol. 57, pp. 528-533, Keeping good companies, Sydney, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Possible remedies for shareholders when a company refuses to declare dividends or declare inadequate dividends

C Killian, J du Plessis

(2005), Vol. 1, pp. 48-68, Journal of South African law, Johannesburg, South Africa, C1

journal article

The German corporate governance model in the wake of company law harmonisation in the European Union

O Sandrock, J du Plessis

(2005), Vol. 26, pp. 88-95, Company lawyer, London, England, C1

journal article
2004

The German two-tier board and the German corporate governance code

J du Plessis

(2004), Vol. 15, pp. 1139-1164, European business law review, London, England, C1

journal article

Directors' duty to use their powers for proper or permissable purposes

J du Plessis

(2004), Vol. 16, pp. 308-326, South African mercantile law journal, Capetown, South Africa, C1

journal article
2003

Expanding criminal sanctions for corporate crimes-deprivation of right to work and cancellation of education qualifications

M Bagaric, J du Plessis

(2003), Vol. 21, pp. 7-25, Company and securities law, North Ryde, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Reverberations after the HIH and other recent Australian corporate collapses: the role of ASIC

J du Plessis

(2003), Vol. 15, pp. 225-245, Australian journal of corporate law, Belconnen, A.C.T., C1

journal article

Removal of company directors in a climate of corporate collapses

J du Plessis, J McConvill

(2003), Vol. 31, pp. 251-264, Australian business law review, Sydney, N.S.W., C1

journal article

Reflections on some recent corporate governance reforms in Germany. A transformation of the German aktienrecht?

J du Plessis

(2003), Vol. 8, pp. 381-396, Deakin law review, Geelong, Vic., C1

journal article

Funded Projects at Deakin

Other Public Sector Funding

Provision of legal services to small business in rural and regional Victoria

Prof Jean Du Plessis, Mr Richard Coverdale, Prof Anne Rees

  • 2011: $4,194
  • 2010: $41,948

Industry and Other Funding

Internationalisation of German corporate law and corporate governance - Anneliese Maier Research Award

Prof Jean Du Plessis

  • 2017: $69,465
  • 2016: $71,207
  • 2015: $72,560
  • 2014: $71,169
  • 2013: $59,417

Other Funding Sources

Mobile financial services: Regulatory responses in Australia, Kenya and South Africa - Edwin Tongoi

Prof Louis De Koker, Prof Jean Du Plessis, Mr Edwin Amos Awuor Tongoi

  • 2019: $15,000
  • 2018: $15,000
  • 2017: $15,000

Supervisions

Principal Supervisor
2021

Akanksha Jumde

Thesis entitled: An Analysis of Mandatory Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Provisions under Indian Company Law

Doctor of Philosophy, Law

2020

Edwin Amos Awuor Tongoi

Thesis entitled: Mobile Financial Services: Regulatory responses-Kenya, South Africa and Australia

Doctor of Philosophy, Law

2019

Yin Chen

Thesis entitled: Corporate social responsibility analysed from Chinese cultural and political perspectives

Doctor of Philosophy, Law

Stephanos Alevras

Thesis entitled: A Historical and Critical Analysis of the Australian Law Applicable to the Payment of Dividends

Master of Laws, Law

2018

Lidia Xynas

Thesis entitled: Taxation as a Social Engineering Tool

Doctor of Philosophy, Law

2004

Gregory Lyon

Thesis entitled: An Examination of Australia's Insider Trading Laws

Doctor of Juridicial Science, School of Law

Matthew Berkahn

Thesis entitled: Regulatory and Enabling Approaches to Corporate Law Enforcement

Doctor of Juridicial Science, School of Law

Associate Supervisor
2017

Qiuyue Jasmine Wang

Thesis entitled: The Enforcement of Insider Trading Laws in Australia: Reform Proposals

Doctor of Philosophy, Law

Akshaya Kamalnath

Thesis entitled: Gender Diversity on Company Boards: A Corporate Law Analysis

Doctor of Philosophy, Law