Tag archives: Interpretation

Bin with wheels is not a ‘vehicle’ (US)

A New York Appeals Court unsurprisingly found that a recycling bin with wheels, which ruptured a gas line used by residents of an apartment building, is not a ‘vehicle’. An all risks policy exclusion did not apply if there was ‘direct loss causing physical damage to covered property from vehicles’. The court said that not … Continue reading

Meaning of the word ‘acquire’ and other interpretation issues

A building contractor sought to argue that the word ‘acquire’ in the Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act 1998 meant ‘buying or obtaining ownership’. The court held that the primary meaning of ‘acquire’ is ‘come to possess something’. The suggestion that persons who have rented their places of permanent residence have not ‘acquired a home’ as … Continue reading

Importing a tacit term into a contract

Where a non-variation clause and a whole agreement clause were included in a comprehensive contract dealing in detail with the subject matter between the parties, the court refused to import a tacit term into the contract. A tacit term is an unexpressed provision in the contract which derives from the common intention of the parties … Continue reading

Interpretation of statutes must be consistent with the Constitution

The Constitutional Court has reminded us in the context of mineral rights that a statutory provision must be interpreted in accordance with the spirit, purport and objects of the Bill of Rights (s 39(2)) and consistently with the Constitution and consistently with international law (s 233), and the courts must apply customary law when that law is … Continue reading

Power station damaged by shocked squirrel is excluded

Where a squirrel found its way onto a power station’s electrical transformer triggering an electrical arc that killed the squirrel and caused damage to the municipality’s property of $213 524, the court denied the municipality all-risks insurance cover because of an exclusion for ‘loss caused by arcing or by electrical currents other than lightning’. The court … Continue reading

Interpretation: ‘Litigation pending’ means awaiting a decision

Litigation is pending if the court still has the power to hear it and dispose of it. The pending proceeding remains undecided or is awaiting a decision or settlement. This principle also applies to administrative tribunals. In Malebane v Dykema the Spatial Planning and Land Use Management Act 2013 included transitional provisions that ‘all applications, … Continue reading

Bad subcontractor work not an ‘accident’ – Ohio USA

Ohio’s high court has held that damage from a subcontractor’s faulty work is not fortuitous in the context of a commercial general liability policy which covered an ‘occurrence’ meaning an ‘accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions’ causing property damage including physical injury to or destruction of tangible property. … Continue reading

Application of insolvency exclusion (UK)

Where a professional indemnity policy excluded claims ‘arising out of or related directly or indirectly to the insolvency of the insured’ the court absolved the insurer from liability in a claim by a financial management company that had lost money on a £200 000 investment when the issuer of a bond went insolvent. The court held … Continue reading

Ambiguous limits of indemnity (UK)

Where a policy schedule and the wording of the policy were not on the face of it consistent, the court considered the combined effect of the limit for a single claim and a number of linked claims and held that the same £10 million applied to both. According to the schedule, the limit of indemnity for … Continue reading

Sanctity of contracts is good public policy

A lease was challenged on the grounds that the cancellation for non-payment of rent, after prior notice that the rent had not been paid, should not be enforceable because it was against public policy to cancel the agreement for the lease of a hotel that had been in place since 1982. Although good faith is … Continue reading

Rules of interpretation of contract

Clauses in a contract must be interpreted: by having regard to the language used in the light of the ordinary rules of grammar and syntax; in the context of the clauses being interpreted and the agreement as a whole; and taking into account the apparent purpose of the clauses so as to give the contract … Continue reading
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