The late Professor Ellison Kahn held the degrees of BCom, LLB (University of Witwatersrand) and LLM, LLD (University of Natal). The honorary degree of LLD was conferred on him by the Universities of Cape Town, the Witwatersrand and Natal. The doyen of writers on the law in South Africa, he was the author, co-author or editor of 13 books on the law, and he published many articles in books and legal periodicals in South Africa and abroad. While he previously compiled books on legal humour to leaven his more scholarly writing, this was his first book on real-life crime.
Professor Kahn was Professor Emeritus of Law and Honorary Professorial Research Fellow of the University of the Witwatersrand, where he was a member of staff from 1948 and a professor of law from 1954 to 1989, and of which he was a Deputy Vice-Chancellor from 1972 to 1981. From 1967 to 1972 he was Dean of the Faculty of Law, and from 1987 to 1988 Dean of the Faculty of Commerce. He was a Senior Counsel of the Republic of South Africa and a Barrister of the Middle Temple, London. In 1987 he was elected an Associate Member of the International Academy of International Law of Paris/New York. The Society of University Teachers of Law presented him in 1989 with its gold medallion for services to academic excellence, law teaching and legal publications.
He was associated with the editing of The South African Law Journal, for 50 years (surely a record that is unequalled in the world, and will perhaps remain unequalled), having been associate editor from 1950 to 1958, joint editor from 1959 to 1967, and editor from 1968 to 1999.