Paul Esselaar completed his BA, LLB at Rhodes University in Grahamstown in 1997. Thereafter he attended the School for Legal Practice at the University of Cape Town in 2000 and went on to complete his articles at Kessler De Jager Inc. During his articles he focussed on Magistrates and High Court litigation as well as deceased estates.
Paul was admitted as an attorney of the High Court in 2001 whereafter he returned to the University of Cape Town and completed his LLM in Electronic Law and Commercial Law in 2003. Paul’s broad background in Electronic Law is ably assisted by a stint at an Online Dispute Resolution company called TrustEnforce as well as his experience as the webmaster for the Trade Law Centre (tralac) and as an Electronic Law specialist for the Electronic Law Consultancy.
Paul was employed as the Electronic Law Manager for Korbitec (Pty) Ltd – a software company that specialises in producing software for the legal market – from 2005 to 2007. He was responsible for the documentation relating to debt collection and various other aspects of practice management such as FICA compliance within existing software products. He also advised Korbitec and attorneys on the impact of the National Credit Act and attended law commission and parliamentary hearings on this and several other laws.
Paul joined Dingley Attorneys (now Dingley Marshal Lewin) in 2008 until early 2011 when he set up his own law firm, Esselaar Attorneys. Paul is a Wireless Application Service Providers Association (WASPA) appeal adjudicator, an Internet Services Providers Association (ISPA) appeal adjudicator, has been admitted as a Notary of the High Court and he also has the right of appearance in the High Court.
In 2013 Paul and Elizabeth de Stadler set up a legal compliance company called Novation Consulting (Pty) Ltd which provides specialist consumer law advice to companies. Along with Elizabeth he has produced an online training course for companies to comply with the requirements of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) and co-authored ‘Understanding the Protection of Personal Information Act’ which was published by Juta in 2015 and its successor ‘Overthinking the Protection of Personal Information Act’ published in 2021. Paul has been part of the POPIA project team to implement changes to several blue chip companies and has presented on POPIA to various audiences for several years. In 2020 he attended the eCommerce summit in Dakar, Senegal for the African Union and was a co-author of ‘A Situational Analysis Of Digital Trade And Digital Economy In Africa’ which analysed consumer-related laws for the African Union.
In his effort to retain an eclectic and wide-ranging knowledge of law, Paul has also been part of:
- several high-value commercial transactions in the Eastern Cape relating to property development, investor funding and shareholder relations,
- urgent insolvency proceedings for foreign shareholders in the Gauteng High Court
- removal of children from the parental home due to neglect
- extended and highly emotional parental plan negotiations for the care of minor children
He currently practices as an attorney and notary at Esselaar Attorneys in Cape Town.