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Duty to protect the public prevails over a healthcare practitioner’s need to practice

A gynaecologist and obstetrician, appeared before the Professional Conduct Committee of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) on charges lodged against him by his patient, Mrs M. He pleaded guilty to 2 out of 7 counts of alleged unprofessional misconduct, and was found guilty only of the 2 counts which he pleaded guilty … Continue reading

Legal professional privilege promotes the rule of law

In a matter regarding unlawful surveillance the Constitutional Court held that the proper functioning of our legal system is reliant on the confidentiality of communications between lawyer and client. That promotes the rule of law. Although originally sourced from the common law, legal professional privilege is now supported by the Constitution. The court reaffirmed a … Continue reading

Protection of journalists’ sources is supported by the Constitution

In the course of a judgment regarding unlawful surveillance, the Constitutional Court found that journalists’ sources of information require special consideration and must be protected against disclosure to the extent possible. Journalists are not expected to reveal the identity of their sources. Freedom of the media is a fundamental requirement for democracy and when journalists … Continue reading

International law does not cover expropriations of property belonging to a country’s own nationals

An interesting case involving international law was heard in the US Supreme Court and lead to the conclusion that the US Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act which reflects international law does not entitle a foreign state to interfere with what is known as a ‘domestic taking’ where the state takes the property of its own nationals. … Continue reading

Meaning of payment for electricity under lease at ‘prevailing commercial rates’ (UK)

Where a tenant was required to pay for electricity and gas ‘at no more than … the … prevailing commercial rates’ the court held that this meant the prevailing commercial rates of the private utility networks of major UK airports including airports receiving international and internal passengers rather than the rates payable to public networks … Continue reading

Merger ends due to failure to operate in the ordinary course, but COVID-19 not MAE (US)

In December 2020 the Delaware court held that the COVID-19 pandemic did not cause a Material Adverse Effect on the target of a merger because the MAE excluded ‘natural disasters and calamities’. Despite this, the buyer was not obliged to close the transaction and was entitled to terminate the sale agreement because the target made … Continue reading

No liability for cricket ball injury

Anyone who has studied the law of delict since 1951 is aware of the English case of Bolton v Stone which found that hitting a cricket ball out of a cricket ground is an incidence of the game and did not amount to negligence so that the passer-by injured by the ball could not sue … Continue reading

HPCSA – primary guardian of morals of the health profession

On 15 January 2021 the Supreme Court of Appeal handed down a judgment which pronounced on the jurisdiction of the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a medical malpractice watchdog and the primary guardian of morals of the health profession. The judgment confirmed that the HPCSA’s jurisdiction is not limited to the conduct … Continue reading

Can South African employers require their employees to undergo mandatory vaccination and testing for COVID-19?

Global efforts have successfully developed both expedited means of testing for the COVID-19 virus and, more recently, vaccines. Employers may thus wish to explore the introduction of workplace policies which formalise mandatory testing and vaccination protocols in order to restore their workplaces to some level of normality, particularly workplaces where remote working is not suitable. … Continue reading

Nasdaq proposes board diversity for listed companies

Nasdaq has proposed board diversity requirements as a condition to continued listing of corporations. The proposal adopts a ‘comply or disclose’ approach to encourage greater diversity on company boards requiring them to have at least one director who self-identifies as female and have one director who self-identifies as black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, … Continue reading

A forfeiture clause providing for summary cancellation of lease agreement on breach is not unfair under the CPA

A forfeiture clause, entitling the lessor to cancel the agreement, without notice to the lessee, in the event of breach by lessee is not void for unfairness in terms of the Consumer Protection Act 2008. The CPA should not be construed to invest the court with the power to refuse to enforce contractual terms on … Continue reading

Lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair FAIS debarment process

Anyone embarking on a FAIS process to debar a financial service provider or representative would do well to read a recent Financial Services Tribunal decision setting out what constitutes a lawful, reasonable and procedurally fair process. The matter is Mothei v Advicecube (FSP35/20). The decision sets out the statutory and regulatory basis for debarment proceeding … Continue reading

No special circumstances when sentencing a doctor for culpable homicide

The Constitutional Court in Van der Walt v The State set aside a doctor’s criminal conviction for culpable homicide on the basis of irregularities committed by the regional magistrate, which infringed the doctor’s right to a fair trial. The conviction was not set aside on the merits. Therefore, whether the doctor’s guilt was proved beyond a reasonable … Continue reading

Provincial MEC not liable for child injured by swing in the private school playground – delictual liability for breach of statute

The Supreme Court of Appeal found that the Provincial MEC for Social Development was not liable for the injury of a child in the playground of a nursery school operated by an NGO in the province. The school was treated as if registered under the Child Care Act 1983 because the incident occurred in 2008 … Continue reading

Scope of right of pre-emption

Where a person is granted a right of pre-emption or right of first refusal and the grantor breaches the right (by selling or otherwise granting it to a third party), the so-called Oryx mechanism comes into place and the holder of the right steps into the shoes of the person to whom the right was … Continue reading

When does a healthcare practitioner’s claim for damages for malicious HPCSA proceedings prescribe?

A healthcare practitioner, who is the subject of malicious HPCSA proceedings, may institute a damages claim for malicious prosecution against the complainant who initiated the proceedings within three years from the date the HPCSA informs the practitioner of its decision to dismiss the complaint. The claim only arises, and prescription starts to run, from the … Continue reading
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