Patrick Bracher (ZA)

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Limits of self-defence

The Supreme Court of Appeal reminded us that the act of self-defence is justifiable if it is reasonable defensive action taken against an imminent act of aggression. Future danger, danger which is not imminent or conduct that has ceased to constitute danger does not entitle one to raise the defence. The act of defence is … Continue reading

What is ‘reasonably practicable’ for preferred language education?

The South African Constitutional Court was called on to examine the 2016 Language Policy of Stellenbosch University which effectively gives preference to English in the circumstances specified in the Policy to advance the university’s goals of equal access, multi-lingualism and integration. The policy maintains and preserves Afrikaans but this is now subject to demand and … Continue reading

You don’t have to own property to sell it

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal has again reminded us that it is not a requirement for a valid contract of sale that the seller must be the owner of the thing sold. Although the parties to a contract of sale usually contemplate the transfer of ownership, this is not an essential feature of … Continue reading

Specific terms override general terms and insurers bound by agents (US)

The Washington Supreme Court found that an insurance company was bound by its agent’s written representations that a particular corporation was an additional insured under a policy even though the printed words in the certificate of insurance said the addition was not binding. A mobile telephone operator and a contractor together erected a cell phone … Continue reading

Vicarious liability for creating a risk

The Supreme Court of Appeal has again extended the scope of vicarious liability. A security company was found liable for a murder committed by their site supervisor in an attempt to rob the deceased who was the financial manager at the premises which the security company were required to guard. The court held that placing … Continue reading

The Big Read Book Series

Norton Rose Fulbright’s insurance practice is excited to announce the launch of its Big Read Book Series with the publications of Volume 1 and 2 in the series. The series is part of the insurance practice’s contribution to resourcing the insurance industry. Volume 1 is a collection of South African insurance judgments of 2018. Volume … Continue reading

Loss of profits claim for damaged taxi (UK)

Where the vehicle of a professional driver such as a taxi driver is damaged in an accident caused by another party’s fault, there is a loss of profits claim while the vehicle is repaired or replaced which may be limited to mitigation costs. The following principles apply: The starting point is the loss of profits … Continue reading

Animals cannot commit vandalism and malicious mischief (US)

An insured sued under their Dwelling Policy for a substantial amount of damage that had been caused to their home by racoons which somehow entered the dwelling. They relied on the cover provided for ‘vandalism and malicious mischief’ which cannot be applied to animals, said the Pennsylvania court. Not surprisingly, the court found that ‘vandalism’ … Continue reading

Electronic signatures confirmed in UK

Everyone involved in agreements governed by English law will be pleased to hear that the UK Law Commission has confirmed that an electronic signature can be used to execute an English law document (including a deed) if: the person signing the document intends to authenticate the document; and any formalities relating to the execution of … Continue reading

Act of God defence fails

When Superstorm Sandy struck Staten Island off New York in October 2012, a dinner cruise boat docked in a marina sustained severe damage from the storm’s high winds and rain, ultimately sinking with a loss of $750 000. The operators of the marina were held liable to the insurer which had paid out more than $900 000 … Continue reading

Contracting with a trust

Where an agreement was purportedly entered into with a trust where one of two required trustees did not sign and in fact refused to do so, the agreement was void and there was no basis for an action compelling the sale to the trustee who did sign to buy the property. A signatory who warrants … Continue reading

Damages under insurance contract with reinstatement value conditions

Where an insurance policy included reinstatement value conditions and the insured had taken immediate steps to comply with the reinstatement conditions, the insured could rely on the clause as long as the insured was genuinely desirous of restarting the business but was unable to do so because of the insurer’s unjustifiable decision not to indemnify … Continue reading
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