Patrick Bracher

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Contracts need consensus

The basis of any contract is consensus between the two parties. The court in Vincorp (Pty) Ltd v Trust Hungary ZRT found that the two parties alleged by the plaintiff to be parties to a contract had different things in mind when they negotiated and that no contract came into being because it lacked the … Continue reading

AI in the law firm – Predictive analytics

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is a critically important tool which empowers lawyers to work more effectively, and provide increased value to clients. One of the ways that lawyers and their clients can benefit from AI is through the use of predictive analytics. AI is better suited than its human counterparts to analyse and … Continue reading

Interpretation of contracts by giving extreme examples is not helpful (UK)

A recent UK case made the following point regarding interpretation of contracts based on hypothetical, extreme examples: ‘There was also, as there sometimes is in commercial cases that turn on points of interpretation, the temptation to provide illustrations of ‘commercial sense’ by the use of hypothetical, and occasionally extreme, examples of what any particular interpretation … Continue reading

Two bridge collapses from same design flaws are ‘related claims’ (US)

A number of lawsuits were pursued against an engineering design firm when two pedestrian bridges collapsed on 13 and 14 November 2014 causing death and damage. The court held that these were ‘related claims’ as defined in the engineering firm’s professional indemnity policy. The policy provided that ‘all related claims shall be considered a single claim’. … Continue reading

New Prudential Authority CEO: FSB now Conduct Authority

The National Treasury has announced the appointment of Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, Kuben Naidoo, as the CEO of the Prudential Authority under the Financial Sector Regulation Act. The announcement also explains the process for appointing the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority. The FSB will ‘close down on 31 March … Continue reading

Subrogation summarised (UK)

A neat description of subrogation appears in a recent UK case: ‘The concept of subrogated rights is well known. If a party is insured against an insured risk, and that risk eventuates and causes loss, the insurer will make good to the insured party the loss suffered as a result of the occurrence of the … Continue reading

UK loss adjusters guilty of breach of data protection

A jury in England has found four individuals and the firm providing loss adjusting and claims management services guilty on charges of unlawfully disclosing personal data that was illegally obtained regarding the financial information of a number of individuals including details of their banking transactions. The firm used private investigators who obtained and disclosed the … Continue reading

Short-term Insurance Act 1998: Proposed amendments to the regulations made under section 70 affecting premium collection

New draft premium collection legislation The National Treasury has published draft regulations for comment by 23 April 2018 regarding the collection of premiums by intermediaries (short-term and long-term premiums). The draft regulations require detailed premium collection authorisations by insurers to intermediaries. The proposed regulations also require a separate bank account for premiums received and require payment … Continue reading

Interpreting insurance policies (UK)

A recent UK decision made some interesting remarks regarding the interpretation of an insurance policy which should be no different in South Africa: The wording of the schedule and the policy wording must be considered together without giving greater weight to either. The fact that clearer words could have been used does not mean that … Continue reading

No cover for racing school accident even though exclusion not read by insured (US)

Where a motor policy excluded coverage ‘for any vehicle located inside a racing facility for the purpose of … or participating in any driving school, driver training or skills training’ the court refused the insured an indemnity to cover a crash at a motor racecourse skills-training event. The insured crashed while he was instructing a … Continue reading

When are statutory requirements mandatory or directory?

The failure to comply strictly with formalities and other procedural requirements imposed by a statute does not necessarily lead to invalidity. Even where the formalities required by statute are peremptory it is not every deviation from the literal prescription in the statute that is fatal. The question remains whether, in spite of the defects, the … Continue reading

Court blocks access to blog website? (UK)

In a right-to-be-forgotten case, the anonymous claimant sought an order against Google Inc to block access to a blog website on which an old news story appeared about the applicant’s conviction and sentence years before. The case was dismissed because the claimant, who appeared for himself, had sued the wrong Google company and had not … Continue reading

What is personal lines business?

Despite objections at the comments stage, the Registrar of Short-term Insurance has defined a ‘policy’ for the purposes of the Policyholder Protection Rules as a short-term policy where the policyholder is a natural person or a juristic person with an asset value or annual turnover less than the R2 million threshold. That has ridiculous consequences. It … Continue reading

Reciprocal performance under reciprocal contracts

The principle of reciprocity in contracts recognises the fact that in many contracts the common intention of the parties, expressed or unexpressed, is that there should be an exchange of performances. There is a presumption that interdependent promises are reciprocal unless there is evidence to the contrary. The common intention is that neither of the … Continue reading

Chinese court gets robot assistant

China’s Supreme People’s Court has employed Faxin, a legal-services robot, which assists judges in sifting through reports and identifying laws relevant to cases. Faxin is an artificial intelligence (AI) platform aimed at transforming China’s overburdened legal system. Faxin is not the only such product currently being used in China. FaXiaoTao, a chat bot, matches clients … Continue reading

AI goes to law school (China)

Concerned with the influence of technology in practicing law, Peking University Law School is looking to bring artificial intelligence (AI) into curriculums by establishing a new AI research centre. Peking University Law School is partnering with a cloud-based analytical tool Gridsum to launch the research centre which will focus on the possibilities and opportunities of … Continue reading

Ontario AI legal challenge showcases latest AI legal developments

The Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General and the Legal Innovation Zone launched an artificial intelligence (AI) legal challenge to encourage law firms to use technology companies that apply AI to legal applications. The six finalists each provide a unique approach using AI to solve legal problems in one way or another. Their work also … Continue reading
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