Tag archives: Interpretation

‘Occurrence’ in insurance policies

The test enunciated by the English court in Kuwait Airways Corporation v Kuwait Insurance Co [1996] 1 Lloyds Rep 664, confirmed in Mann and Another v Lexington Insurance Company [2000] is no different in South African law. “An ‘occurrence’ (which is not materially different from an event or happening, unless perchance the contractual context requires … Continue reading

Effect of settlement agreement

Ten years after the 2010 World Cup the Supreme Court of Appeal has given judgment in a dispute between the South African Football Association and a travel business relating to travel arrangements for the competition. The parties had a settlement agreement which was in ‘full and final settlement’ of the dispute relating to whether SAFA … Continue reading

Damage caused by incorrect labelling is not insured as ‘arising out of’ the product manufactured (US)

A bulk supplier of prescription drugs, which was not a manufacturer, supplied drugs in bulk to a retailer. A customer of the retailer suffered severe bodily injury because of misleading and defective labelling by the retailer. The retailer was entitled to the benefit of the distributor’s insurance if any claim was ‘only with respect to … Continue reading

Specific terms override general terms and insurers bound by agents (US)

The Washington Supreme Court found that an insurance company was bound by its agent’s written representations that a particular corporation was an additional insured under a policy even though the printed words in the certificate of insurance said the addition was not binding. A mobile telephone operator and a contractor together erected a cell phone … Continue reading

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
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