Willem Hendrik Gravett, University of Pretoria


Willem Hendrik Gravett is a senior lecturer in the Department of Procedural Law in the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, where he teaches civil procedure, law of evidence and trial advocacy.  His research interests lie at the intersection of social and cognitive psychology and the law.  Specifically, he investigates the influence of cognitive biases, heuristics and implicit social cognition (implicit racial bias in particular) on judicial decision-making.  He also explores the ways in which social science research might enhance trial lawyers’ persuasiveness in the presentation of their clients’ cases at every phase of the trial.

Willem was admitted as an Advocate of the High Court of South Africa in August of 1997 and as a Member of the New York State Bar in November of 1998.  Before returning to legal academia in 2013, he practiced law in New York for fifteen years.



Willem graduated from the University of Pretoria with the degrees BLC (with distinction) in 1994 and LLB (with distinction) in 1996.  In 1997 Willem was awarded the Bradlow International Human Rights Law Scholarship for 1997-1998.  In 1998, he received the LLM degree summa cum laude from Notre Dame Law School in the United States.  Willem was awarded the degree Doctor of Laws in December 2015 with a thesis entitled ‘To Save Succeeding Generations from the Scourge of War’: Jan Christian Smuts (1870 – 1950) and the Genesis of International Organisation and Human Rights.