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Public participation in South African law-making process is essential

South Africa is a participatory democracy and where legislation is passed without facilitating public participation, especially by those members of the public most affected, the law is invalid. The Veterinary Association was successful in having the word ‘veterinarian’ severed from an amendment to the Medicine and Related Substances Act because of lack of consultation regarding … Continue reading

Extinctive prescription: When is a debt due?

The Constitutional Court reaffirmed that a debt becomes due when it is immediately claimable or recoverable. Where the purchase price was not receivable under the Alienation of Land Act 1981 until the contract was recorded at the Deeds Office, prescription did not start to run until the recording of the contract took place. It is … Continue reading

Damages for denying gender-confirming medical care (US)

A jury in Wisconsin awarded damages to two transgender women who were denied gender-confirming medical care by a state health plan. The state’s health insurance excluded procedures, services and supplies ‘related to surgery and sex hormones associated with gender reassignment’. The court found that the exclusion is unconstitutional because it ‘entrenches the belief that transgender … Continue reading

Administrative law: Legal status of departmental Directive

The Department of Home Affairs issued an Immigration Directive which required departmental functionaries to refuse all applications for temporary or permanent residence visas made by the holder of an asylum seeker permit. The court found that the directive was treated as binding by the departmental officials tasked to implement it and it was therefore open … Continue reading

Hospital receptionists owe duty to inform patients accurately regarding available medical assistance

A judgment of the English Court of Appeal which we called ‘bizarre’ and ‘peculiar’ has been predictably overturned by the UK Supreme Court. The Supreme Court found that the hospital run by the NHS Trust is liable to a patient with a head injury who had been given misinformation by the hospital receptionist that he … Continue reading

Private equity firm not liable for investing in competing company (US)

A Delaware court dismissed a claim that a private equity firm and its affiliated funds had misappropriated trade secrets acquired from a portfolio company via their directors on the board of the company and misused the information by investing in a competitor. The court found that no reasonable inference of misappropriation could be drawn because … Continue reading

Administrative law: Obligation to exhaust internal remedies

The Constitutional Court re-examined section 7(2) of the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act which creates an obligation on applicants for the court review of an administrative decision to exhaust all internal remedies first. The obligation to exhaust internal remedies should not be rigidly imposed nor used by administrators to frustrate an applicant’s efforts to review the … Continue reading

Fraudulent misrepresentation defeats voetstoots clause in sale

Where a seller had fraudulently failed to disclose a defective roof and sewerage system covered by buildings constructed without required statutory approval he was successfully sued in delict for fraudulent misrepresentation and fraudulent nondisclosure. Because the conduct was fraudulent the delictual claim defeated the voetstoots clause in the deed of sale as well as the … Continue reading

Termination of employment is only grounds for eviction if agreed

The Extension of Security of Tenure Act 1997 (ESTA) distinguishes between individuals whose right of residence arises solely from the employment agreement and those whose right arises from the general consent of the owner of the land. Only in the former instance can the right of residence be terminated on termination of employment. In the … Continue reading

Appeal court reluctantly finds a once-off loan requires registration as credit provider

The appeal court has found that the requirement to register as a credit provider is applicable to all credit agreements once the prescribed threshold is reached (currently zero), irrespective of whether the credit provider is involved in the credit industry and irrespective of whether the credit agreement is a once-off transaction. The appeal court reluctantly … Continue reading

Financial assistance to subsidiaries reviewed in the Companies Amendment Bill: What is ‘its own subsidiary’?

The amendments proposed in the Companies Amendment Bill 2018 have caught the attention of financiers and attorneys in so far as the provision of financial assistance (e.g. providing a loan, guaranteeing a loan, and securing any debt or obligation), to ‘its own subsidiary’ is concerned. The Amendment Bill proposes to amend section 45 by removing … Continue reading

The South African Companies Amendment Bill 2018

The long awaited South African Companies Amendment Bill (Bill) was published on 21 September 2018 for comment. Substantial changes to the South African Companies Act 2008 (Companies Act), which became law in 2011, have been proposed. Comments may be submitted to the SA Department of Trade and Industry by 20 November 2018, and we encourage business to consider … Continue reading

Competition Amendment Bill proposes significant changes to Market Inquiries

The Competition Amendment Bill proposes giving the Competition Commission broader powers, with more substantial remedies and the threshold for initiating a market inquiry has been lowered. Key changes include the expansion of the scope of market inquiries, the provision of a notification and consultation process with sector regulators and the granting of substantial powers to … Continue reading

Medical prosthesis not defective nor abnormal risk (UK)

The manufacturer of a hip prosthesis system (which was of a metal-on-metal design) for use in total hip replacement operations was sued by 313 individual claimants who alleged metal-wear debris damaged surrounding soft tissues necessitating revision surgery. The court found that the system was not defective and the claimants had not proved that it did … Continue reading

Bank escapes liability for credit reference

Playboy Club London sued an Italian bank for losses it suffered after it extended a credit facility to one of the bank’s customers on the basis of a favourable credit reference provided by the bank. A ‘well-known figure at a casino in Lebanon’ applied to Playboy Club for a cheque-cashing facility up to £800 000 to … Continue reading

Competition Amendment Bill proposes tougher penalties

The Competition Amendment Bill of 2018 introduces harsher penalty provisions which increase the enforcement powers of the competition authorities for purposes of deterring anti-competitive conduct. Removal of the ‘yellow card’ Currently, the Competition Act only allows for administrative penalties to be imposed in relation to certain prohibited practices if the conduct has been repeated by … Continue reading
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