The interpretation process is objective, not subjective.

Where the meaning of any policy is clear, effect must be given to it.

The court cannot substitute what it regards as reasonable, sensible or business-like for the words actually used. The court should not in those circumstances rewrite the contract made by the parties.

Courts should not ‘make a contract for the parties other than the one they in fact made’. See Natal Joint Municipal Pension Fund v Endumini Municipality (SCA).

Have a look at the rest of the posts in our series on interpreting insurance contracts. You can also read more on interpretation of contracts, here.