Personal details

The late John Mowbray Didcott was born in Durban on 14 August 1931 and died on 20 October 1998. He was married and had two daughters.


Judge Didcott matriculated at Hilton College, outside Pietermaritzburg, in 1948.

He studied at the University of Cape Town, where he obtained the degrees of Bachelor of Arts in 1951 and Bachelor of Laws in 1953.

He was the secretary of the Students' Representative Council from 1951 to 1952 and the president of the council from 1952 to 1954. He also served as vice-president of the National Union of South African Students from 1953 to 1954 and as its president from 1954 to 1955.

In 1953 he was awarded an Abe Bailey Travel Bursary to the United Kingdom. He was also a member of the team representing the International Student Conference, which visited universities in southeast Asia for six months in 1955 and 1956.

Judge Didcott was admitted to the Bar in Cape Town on 26 February 1954. He served as a Supreme Court reporter on the staff of the Cape Argus from 1954 to 1955, after which he practised at the Durban Bar from July 1956 until June 1975.

He was appointed senior counsel on 19 July 1967. From 1973 to 1975 he was the chairperson of the Society of Advocates of Natal. He was the Natal delegate to the annual general meetings of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa held in 1961, 1966, 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1974.

Judge Didcott served as an acting judge of the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa during February 1971 and from April to June 1975. He was judge of the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa from 16 June 1975 until 12 October 1994. He was also a member of the Special Electoral Court for the 1994 general election.

From August to December 1984 he was a visiting scholar at the Law School of Columbia University, New York. He served as chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville from 1988 to 1993. He has been a member of the board of governors of the University of Cape Town Foundation since 1990 and honorary professor in the Department of Procedural and Clinical Law at the University of Natal in Durban since 1989.

He was awarded the degree of Doctor of Law (honoris causa) by the University of Natal on 17 April 1991, by the University of Cape Town on 28 June 1991 and by the University of the Witwatersrand on 30 April 1992.

Judge Didcott served on the Constitutional Court from his appointment in 1994 until his death in 1998.

Service on the Constitutional Court

  • Justice 1994 - 1998
  • Died 20 October 1998

JSC Interviews

JSC interview