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Gross negligence carve-outs

Often ‘gross negligence’ is used as a carve-out from a no-liability clause. The Consumer Protection Act expressly provides that a supplier cannot exclude liability for gross negligence. Negligence is the deviation from the standard of care expected of a reasonable person in the particular circumstances. Clearly more than mere negligence is involved when a person … Continue reading

Amendment to HPCSA Inquiry Regulations

The regulations relating to inquiries into alleged unprofessional conduct of healthcare practitioners registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) have been amended. Practitioners must ensure that their current and correct e-mail address is in the HPCSA’s records. Two of the three amendments bring the regulations up to speed with modern times. A … Continue reading

Euthanasia in South Africa

The debate around euthanasia and its legal implications has stirred again due to the 2019 case of Professor Sean Davison, charged with three counts of murder in circumstances where the individuals had asked him for assistance in their deaths. Understandably, faced with a long prison sentence if convicted of murder, Professor Davison concluded a court-approved … Continue reading

POPI – possible date of full commencement 1 April 2020

In a January 2020 interview, the Chairperson of the Information Regulator, Pansy Tlaluka, indicated that her office has requested President Ramaphosa to sign the remaining provisions of POPI into full force by 1 April 2020. These provisions will establish the minimum requirements for lawful processing of personal information with which all private and public persons … Continue reading

Responsibility of resort for sexual assault of guest

The terrible and harrowing tale of an 18 year old mildly intellectually impaired woman can be read in the judgments of the high court (Bridgman NO v Witzenberg Municipality and others) and the appeal judgment of Witzenberg Municipality v Bridgman NO and others of 3 December 2019. Both the lower and appeal court had no … Continue reading

Jurisdiction of the National Consumer Tribunal

The Supreme Court of Appeal discussed, without deciding, the jurisdiction of the National Consumer Tribunal to deal with matters arising under sections 90 and 91 of the National Credit Act relating to the declaration of a provision as unlawful in terms of section 90(2) and void. It appears from section 164(1) that no unlawful provision, … Continue reading

Incomplete or inaccurate record of agreement does not make it void (NCA extended warranties in issue)

The Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the validity of extended warranties in respect of goods sold on credit under the National Credit Act 2005 despite the fact that the warranties were filled in incompletely or inaccurately. The evidence was that, despite the inaccuracies, the extended warranties were correctly applied and gave extended warranty cover for … Continue reading

Where there is a right there is a remedy

The granting of a full pardon by the State President to a veteran pensioner entitled the pensioner to continue receiving payment from the date of the pardon. The Special Pensions Appeal Board was obliged to restore the pension from the date of the pardon. The pensioner could not be deprived of his pension on the … Continue reading

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

Constitutional values of ubuntu and fairness are not the basis for the courts’ interference with contractual relationships

It has long been held that although values such as good faith, reasonableness and fairness are fundamental to our law of contract, they do not constitute independent rules that courts can employ to intervene in contractual relationships (South African Forestry Co Ltd v York Timbers Ltd). The fact that a term of a contract is … Continue reading

South Africa 2019 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement

The 2019 Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) was recently delivered by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni and recognises that South Africa’s economic growth has been slowing alongside productivity and competitiveness. South Africa’s debt-to-GDP ratio is among the highest of its peer countries, with only Argentina, Croatia, Ukraine and Zambia worse off. It is projected that the … Continue reading

Mediation in the High Court

Successful mediation of any dispute is largely dependent on the skills and expertise of the mediator and the willingness and good faith of the parties to the mediation to engage in that process. So it is to be welcomed that the proposed new High Court Rule 41A doesn’t make mediation compulsory but is rather intended … 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
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