Robert de Rooy

Adjunct Associate Professor


Robert de Rooy is adjunct associate professor in the Department of Private Law. He has taught on drafting with illustrations in the form of “comic contracts” on the Advanced Contract Law LLM for many years. He is a commercial lawyer who cares deeply about the vulnerability of people when they sign contracts they cannot read. From this was born the idea of Comic Contracts, legally binding illustrated contracts for people with low literacy skills or often not first-language speakers of the language in which contracts are usually drafted in the area or country involved. He is recognised internationally as a pioneer in this field. He was awarded the Legal Innovation Award of the World Contract and Commercial Management Association (formerly International Association of Contract and Commercial Management) for his pioneering work with illustrated contracts in 2016, and the Social Justice Innovation Award of the Hague Institute for Innovation in Law in 2019. He has drafted comic contracts and other illustrated documents in many other countries and for international organisations as well. His work has been cited internationally by many authors.

He has B Comm LLB degrees from Stellenbosch University and a MBA from UCT. He is registered for PhD research at the University of Vaasa, Finland. He practices as an attorney at Robert de Rooy Attorneys in Cape Town.


Chapters in international books

Ketola, Pitkäsalo & De Rooy “Contracts via comics: Migrant workers and Thai fishing
vessel employment contracts” in Comics and Migration: Representation and Other Practices (Taylor & Francis: 2023)

Baasch-Andersen  & De Rooy “Employment agreements in comic book form—What a difference cartoons make” In Corrales Compagnucci, Haapio & Fenwick (eds), Research Handbook on Contract Design (2020: Edward Elgar Publishing) 329–346

De Rooy “Comic Contracts” in Wright (ed) Lawyers as Changemakers, the Global Integrative Law Movement (2010)

Articles in international journals and international conference proceedings

de Rooy, R “Nurturing the dignity of vulnerable and marginalized people, one contract at a time” (2022) 83. The Clarity Journal 39-43.

Haapio, H., de Rooy, R., & Barton, T. D. (2018). New Contract Genres. Data Protection / LegalTech. Proceedings of the 21th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2018, 455–460.Plewe & de Rooy “Integrative deal-design: Cascading from goal-hierarchies to negotiations and contracting” (2016) 2(1-2) Journal of Strategic Contracting and Negotiation 19-33

Haapio, Plewe & de Rooy “Contract continuum: From text to images, comics and code”in Schweighofer et al (eds) Networks. Proceedings of the 20th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2017 (Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft OCG, Wien 2017) 411–418 (ISBN 978-3-903035-15-7).  Jusletter IT, 23 February 2017

Haapio, Plewe & de Rooy “Next Generation Deal Design: Comics and Visual Platforms for Contracting” in Schweighofer et al (eds) Networks. Proceedings of the 19th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2016; Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft OCG, Wien 2016, pp. 373-380 (ISBN 978-3-903035-09-6). Jusletter IT 25 February 2016.

Forthcoming book chapter in international book

De Rooy, R. “Contracts for Dignity” in Legal Design: Dignifying People in Legal Systems (Cambridge University Press: 2023).