1 Prescription of accrual claim
Reynolds N.O v Smith  ZAWCHC 87
The applicant (R) is the executor in the deceased estate of the late MS, who was married out of community of property with the accrual system to the respondent (HS). The couple were in the process of separation, but not yet divorced, when MS passed away. R requested full particulars from HS about his assets and their value, to determine whether there would be an accrual claim in favour of the deceased estate of MS. HS supplied information through his attorneys to R, after which R made further requests. This process carried on for more than six years. R then launched the application to compel HS to supply further and better information. HS argued that the claim prescribed three years (alternatively six years) after R was supplied with the information, alternatively that "…what the applicant in truth seeks are orders amounting to pre-litigation discovery and a response to pre-litigation interrogatories which include 'explanations' from third parties who are not joined in these proceedings as well as the creation of documents."
Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr
The firm has forged a partnership with Nairobi-based Kieti Law LLP. Under the CDH banner, both firms will not only expand their service offerings in the region but also benefit from the alchemy of Kieti's embedded regional expertise and knowledge, CDH's depth in its full legal service offering and capability, and both firms' reputation for their commercial legal business nous in their respective domestic jurisdictions. Brent Williams, CDH CEO says, 'The firm is looking for a more continental reach and a base of operations in the region', while Sammy Ndolo, Managing Partner at Kieti says, 'together with CDH, we can offer not only greater depth of service and legal expertise to our local clients, but also attract global clients with interests in the continent.' Brent says, 'Although this may be a merger on paper, it has all the hallmarks of the beginnings of an entirely new law firm. This new firm will remain both Kenyan and South African at its respective operational levels and yet quintessentially and proudly African in practice and culture.'
Since without prejudice first published a top student feature in 2002, I have admired the dedication and determination of the graduates to achieve the highest academic honours. It takes many hours and no little sacrifice. In the future, when they look back, the number of hours spent studying will pale into insignificance in comparison with the hours they will dedicate to work – however, they cannot but be proud of their accomplishments at a time of life when study is not necessarily at the top of everyone's agenda.
In March 2020, legal practice as we knew it changed in a way that nobody could have foreseen, as the world, and South Africa, went into lockdown in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This new way of living and working has persisted in some form or another for over a year now, and its effects on legal practice in the future remain unclear.
Every time I drive into the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, I am instantly haunted by the vastness of eternity. As wave after wave of the faded golden sand dunes ebb and flow over the voluptuous desert, the further one leaves civilization behind, the more the insignificant drop of influence that human existence has had on these vast open spaces trickles down on me, in the sepia sea of game and grass; and the importance of time itself becomes as blurred as the horizon.
So you want to be a lawyer? How noble. You've probably recited countless times when questioned on your motivation for entering this profession that you want to "use the law as a tool for social justice". You've reached for that answer as swiftly and mechanically as a toddler reaches for the edge of a tablecloth. The first few times, you said it as if you meant it with every fibre of your being. After a few "we regret to inform you" emails, the words spilled perfunctorily out of your mouth.
When I began my articles of clerkship in January 2020, to say I was on an emotional roller-coaster does not quite capture the spectrum of anxiety, excitement, confusion, and plain old fear that I experienced. I was wide-eyed, fresh out of university, where I had just completed a highly demanding degree, and I had countless expectations of what my life and career should look like (some unrealistic, and others that would demand that I bring all my potential to the table in order to achieve).
The COVID-19 pandemic has been yet another disruptive force that has confronted and destabilised universities, and forced them to make enormous changes – some which were long overdue – particularly by magnifying existing challenges to students' abilities to engage with their learning, and highlighting the inequality gap. COVID-19 has exacerbated the financial crisis that has confronted universities for some time now. Registration numbers are way down, student debt is escalating, government subsidies are declining, and third-stream income has dried up. Not to mention all the direct COVID-19 related expenditure that universities have incurred.
Just as the alchemist, Nicolas Flamel, invented the philosopher's stone, the publisher Aldus Manutius invented the "half-blood" punctuation mark, commonly known as the semi-colon. Unlike Flamel's fictitious philosopher's stone, the semi-colon made its way to be a very real and important tool for writing. As we sit in the twenty-first century, we look at the semi-colon almost every day, even though we might not notice that we do. When we separate email addresses on emails, we use the semi-colon; when we read inter alia legislation, rules, cases, articles, our eyes brush past semi-colons and we do not stop to think about the purpose it serves.
While John Henry Wigmore may have been correct when he wrote that cross-examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented to discover the truth, I think it may safely be said that the urgent application is the greatest legal engine of all. It allows for any person faced with an immediate need for any legal protection to approach a court at any time, for any shape of order that will protect their rights. But for the urgent application, countless injustices and tragedies would befall people awaiting their turn at justice, in the drawn-out process of bringing a suit in due course.
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