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Lucas Cornelius Steyn: Wikis


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Lucas Cornelius Steyn (1903-1976) was Chief Justice of South Africa and, as such, acted as Governor-General on two occasions.

Born in 1903, he graduated with law degrees from the University of Stellenbosch in 1926, was admitted as an advocate (the South African equivalent of a barrister) in 1928, and obtained a doctorate in law in 1929.

He was Attorney-General of South West Africa (which was then under South African administration) from 1931 to 1933, and worked in the Department of Justice from 1933 to 1944. He was appointed a King's Counsel in 1943. He assisted the South African delegation to the United Nations from 1946 to 1949, and was a legal adviser in the 1950 International Court of Justice hearing into South Africa's refusal to give up South West Africa.

Steyn was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court in 1951, a judge of the Appeal Court in 1955, and Chief Justice in 1959. As Chief Justice, he acted ex officio as Officer Administering the Government, i.e. acting Governor-General, for the period between the death of Dr Jansen in 1959 and the installation of C.R. Swart in 1960, and again between Swart's resignation as the last Governor-General in 1961 and his inauguration as the first State President a few weeks later. It was he who administered the oaths of office to Swart on both occasions.

Steyn married Huibrecht van Schoor in 1928. They had two children. He died in 1976.


  • Dictionary of South African Biography Volume V
Preceded by
Ernest George Jansen
Governor-General of South Africa
Succeeded by
Charles Robberts Swart


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