November 2007


From My Window - November 2007 From My Window November 2007

Few of us would not have been saddened and alarmed at the saga surrounding Cape judge-president John Hlophe. It has gone on for months and, despite the controversial decision arrived at by the Judicial Services Commission (JSC), seems as far from a satisfactory resolution as ever.

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Funding litigation and accessing justice The Law November 2007

In 2000 the UK House of Lords held that claims made by South African asbestosis victims against Cape plc should be heard in the UK, and not in South Africa. One of the reasons for this decision was the absence of developed procedures for handling class actions in South Africa and the procedural novelty of such actions in this country. Another reason was the difficulty of funding of this type of potentially protracted and expensive litigation in South Africa.

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Sci-fi in the courts The Law November 2007

Part one of this article (Oct 2007) discussed the use of AI in law and pointed out the possible uses of “robot judges." This part looks at the practical and jurisprudential problems related to AI in law; specifically AI judges.Practical problems The use of technology and AI in law firms certainly makes things easier, but it doesn't come without its fair share of problems. The biggest problem with AI used in law firms is security. These systems are vulnerable to hacking, especially with figure sensitive cases. Accountability is another concern – who will be liable for incorrect advice or damages resulting from online legal advice?

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‘Pick ’n Pay’ a lawyer ? The Law November 2007

“For sale signs will soon be hanging outside solicitors' practices" – says Alasdair Douglas (The Independent, Sept 16, So do we want a legal system where solicitors can be bought?) The sale of many lucrative law firms in England and Wales, is one of the probable, and possibly the most contentious, outcomes of the Legal Services Bill (the UK Bill), which is currently before the United Kingdom's parliament.

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Default judgement anomalies must be eliminated The Law November 2007

The basis for setting aside a default judgement in the high court inexplicably and unaccountably differs from that applicable in the magistrate's court. It is an anomaly that must surely be eliminated without delay.

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Whistle-blowing rules under review Competition Law November 2007

“An effective leniency program will lead cartels members to confess their conduct even before an investigation is opened. In other cases, it will induce organisations already under investigation to abandon the cartel stonewall, race to government, and provide evidence against the other cartel members."1

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Confidentiality claims and fair process Competition Law November 2007

Confidentiality claims over information submitted to the competition authorities are of paramount importance. s49A of the Competition Act, 1998 confers on the Commissioner a very wide power, namely that at any time during an investigation in terms of the Act, the Commissioner may summon any person who is believed to have in their possession any document that has a bearing on that subject, to deliver or to produce such document.

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The right to claim a share of a spouse’s retirement benefits on divorce Pension Law November 2007

On October 3 this year, the Pension Funds Adjudicator issued a landmark ruling in the matter of Cockcroft v Mine Employees Pension Fund concerning the payment of divorce benefits.

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When rectification is no defence Company Law November 2007

s23 of the Close Corporations Act, 1984 places a statutory obligation on any close corporation (CC) to display its full name and registration number in easily legible characters, and in a conspicuous position, outside its registered office and every other place where its business is carried on.

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The doctrine of unanimous consent Environmental Law November 2007

Generally, decisions are taken at properly constituted meetings of the company. However, it is trite law that, in certain circumstances, decisions taken with the unanimous approval of the members of a company are effective even though such decisions were taken without the formality of calling a general meeting. This is commonly known as the doctrine of unanimous consent.

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Unlawful occupation unravelled Property Law November 2007

The Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act (19 of 1998) (PIE) sets out the procedures to be followed where the owner or the person in charge of land may evict an unlawful occupier. In terms of PIE an unlawful occupier is defined as "a person who occupies land without the express or tacit consent of the owner or person in charge, or without any other right in law to occupy such land…".

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Claiming Kruger Property Law November 2007

The Kruger National Park, described as the jewel in South Africa's ecotourism crown, has attracted increased attention by observers of South Africa's land reform programme as the deadline for finalisation of all land claims draws nearer – the government wants all land restitution claims settled by March 2008.

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Do we really have an Advertising Standards Authority? Advertising November 2007

What is advertising coming to in this country? I was both sickened and angered when I was watching SABC 3 recently and wondered whether the adverts to which I was subjected were actually legal.

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Cars and the constitution Not The Law Reports November 2007

SUCKER V FANCY DRESS CARS Foss-Harbottle J: The plaintiff (I shall not use his name in case I appear thereby to be making a value judgement regarding the deal he struck) bought a low slung, red, fast but noisy Italian sports car. He admits that he bought it unthinkingly under the spell of some clever sales-talk. He now wishes to cancel the sale on the grounds that the vehicle is latently defective in that it has abnormal characteristics which one would not expect to find in a vehicle, having regard to its type, quality and price (Curtaincrafts v Wilson 1969 (4) 221 E).

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The right to privacy Medical Law November 2007

The protection of the right to privacy has been recognised by the common law. This protection is now entrenched in s14 of the 1996 Constitution.

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