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Recent Industry Articles

Home Buyer loses R5.5m in Phishing Scam – Don’t Make the Same Mistake!

Home Buyer loses R5.5m in Phishing Scam – Don’t Make the Same Mistake!

“[The buyer] must in the circumstances take responsibility for her failure to protect herself against a known risk” (extract from judgment below) Cybercriminals absolutely love targeting property transactions because they provide the perfect mix of large money deposits, heavy reliance on email communication from trusted parties like attorneys, banks and estate agencies, and deadlines creating a sense of urgency and lack of attention to detail. Let’s consider just one recent example of a high-value BEC (Business Email Compromise) attack on the purchase of a house. A textbook case costs a pensioner R5.5m A woman describing herself as “an elderly divorced…
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Brand-New Car Giving You Nightmares? CPA to the Rescue

Brand-New Car Giving You Nightmares? CPA to the Rescue

“The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) establishes a broad and comprehensive scope for consumer protection. Its purview includes developing and maintaining a consumer market in such a way as to ensure fairness, accessibility, effectiveness, sustainability and responsibility for the benefit of consumers” (Extract from judgment below) You drive your brand-new car home, eager to take the family out for a first spin. Happiness! Until suddenly the car won’t start, or you notice a funny rattling noise, or you notice rust, or … it could be anything, because although “brand new” should in theory mean “free of defects”, that’s…
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The New Cannabis Act: Here’s What You Will and Won’t Be Allowed to Do

The New Cannabis Act: Here’s What You Will and Won’t Be Allowed to Do

“It’s high time they legalised cannabis” (Anon) Much excitement has greeted the signing into law of the Cannabis for Private Purposes Act, which will formally regulate the cultivation, possession, and use of cannabis by adults in a private setting and, says the Presidency, lays the groundwork for regulatory reforms “to allow for the industrialisation of the cannabis sector.” But although the new Act has been widely reported in the media as though it is already in force, this is not correct – it will only come into effect when its commencement date is gazetted. It is not clear at date of…
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Can You Sign an Affidavit Over Zoom?

Can You Sign an Affidavit Over Zoom?

“These technological developments would have seemed far-fetched and science fiction a brief few years ago.” (Extract from judgment below) It’s an important question – the invalidity of an affidavit could sink even the strongest case, so it’s vital to get this right. Of course, it’s always tempting to cut corners where you can on the commissioning side, and perhaps you urgently need to sign an affidavit but are far from a commissioner of oaths or perhaps for some reason you just can’t visit a commissioner physically. That of course became a commonplace scenario during the Covid-19 restrictions on personal contact…
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Why an Oral Estate Agency Mandate Isn’t Worth the Paper It’s Written On

Why an Oral Estate Agency Mandate Isn’t Worth the Paper It’s Written On

“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” (Samuel Goldwyn) Perhaps you are a seller marketing your property through an estate agency, or a buyer asking an agent to find you one, or a landlord employing an agent to let out your property. Whatever the transaction involved, make sure that the agency mandate is in writing. The problem is that, because we have a human tendency to hear only what we want to hear, the parties to any verbal agreement can, quite genuinely, each remember the terms of their agreement quite differently. Even worse, if one party is…
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Cannabis Policies in the Workplace: A Delicate Balancing Act

Cannabis Policies in the Workplace: A Delicate Balancing Act

“It is declared that the [employer]’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Policy is irrational and violates the right to privacy in section 14 of the Constitution, to the extent that it prohibits office-based employees that do not work with or within an environment that has, heavy, dangerous and similar equipment, from consuming cannabis in the privacy of their homes.” (Court order, below) A recent Labour Appeal Court (LAC) decision highlights the complexities of workplace policies regarding cannabis use and provides guidelines to employers and their employees on the intersection of individual rights and workplace policies. Unfairly dismissed for off-duty cannabis use…
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Siblings Feuding Over a Business: Can You Get a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

Siblings Feuding Over a Business: Can You Get a Domestic Violence Protection Order?

“It is the purpose of this Act to afford the victims of domestic violence the maximum protection from domestic abuse that the law can provide” (Domestic Violence Act) When sibling rivalry escalates into physical or psychological abuse, victims should take advantage of the very strong protections offered to them by the Domestic Violence Act (“DVA”). As the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) has put it: “…the primary objective of the Act is to provide victims of domestic violence with an effective, uncomplicated, and swift legal remedy … and placing upon the courts and law enforcement functionaries’ extensive obligations to assist and protect victims of…
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Contracting with Trusts – Is a Majority Resolution Valid?

Contracting with Trusts – Is a Majority Resolution Valid?

“Externally, trustees cannot disagree. In the external sphere the Trust functions by virtue of its resolutions, which have to be supported by the full complement of the Trust body.” (Extract from judgment below) A recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment provides yet another reminder to tread carefully when contracting with trusts. Your agreements with a trust will be invalid and unenforceable if the trustees acting for the trust weren’t properly authorised to bind the trust. But must trustee resolutions always be taken unanimously by all of the appointed trustees to be valid, or will a majority decision ever suffice?…
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Shoprite Checker (Pty) Ltd v Mafate – a lesson on prescription (or the lack thereof)

Shoprite Checker (Pty) Ltd v Mafate – a lesson on prescription (or the lack thereof)

Shoprite Checkers has lost a case at the Supreme Court of Appeal (‘the SCA’) over whether a claim filed by a curator ad litem, on behalf of a temporary worker who was left permanently mentally incapacitated at work, had prescribed. The worker, who, on 15 October 2014, suffered a freak accident at work which left her brain damaged, had a curator appointed to look after her affairs in February 2017. Due to her permanent mental incapacity, she could not institute proceedings in her name and the curator unfortunately only filed her claim in October 2018 – some 4 years after…
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A “Running Down” Damages Claim – Elite Athlete v Happy Snapper

A “Running Down” Damages Claim – Elite Athlete v Happy Snapper

An elite runner competing in a race along Sea Point’s iconic Promenade collides with a pedestrian out for a Sunday walk with a friend. The pedestrian’s good deed – agreeing to take a group photo for some “Fun Walk” participants – lands her in hospital awaiting a hip replacement operation. She sues both the runner and the race organiser for R718,000 in damages, claiming they were negligent. There is denial of liability, conflicting evidence and counter claims of contributory negligence. It’s the sort of accident that can happen to anyone and at any time. In the blink of an eye…
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