In this judgment the Supreme Court of Appeal confirmed as trite that a decision by a contracting party to cancel a contract concluded between two private parties cannot form the subject of review by the courts.
The power of the courts to review the lawfulness, reasonableness and procedural fairness of decisions or actions applies only to decisions or actions taken by public bodies.
The cancellation of the agreements on the facts of the case between two private parties had nothing to do with the control of administrative power or the method of that control.
The decision to cancel the particular agreements was not “administrative action” as defined by the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act.
Nor was it the exercise of public power, other than administrative action, which could render the decision subject to review in terms of the principle of legality, sourced in the rule of law and found in the values of the Constitution.
It was clear on the relief sought that the disgruntled party was not seeking the review of an administrative decision but rather an order setting aside the private law decision to terminate the agreement. That was a contractual dispute arising from the election by the one party to exercise its contractual right to terminate the agreements.