When Can a Shop Be Sued for Damages If a Customer Falls?

When Can a Shop Be Sued for Damages If a Customer Falls?

The Festive Season is once more upon us, cueing shops, shopping centres and malls packed with ever-growing crowds of shoppers. What happens if you fall while shopping and hurt yourself? Our law reports are full of cases where shops are sued for damages following “slips” and “trips”, and a recent High Court case of Holtzhausen v Cenprop Real Estate (Pty) Ltd and Another (A116/20) [2021] ZAWCHC 39; [2021] 2 All SA 457 (WCC); 2021 (4) SA 221 (WCC) confirms once again that as a general rule shops and malls are liable to keep their visitors from harm. A broken elbow…
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Selling Your Home: How to be Lucky this Holiday Season

Selling Your Home: How to be Lucky this Holiday Season

History has not recorded whether Seneca himself was “lucky” in the property market of his time (Rome’s land registration records from two millennia ago have unfortunately not survived the ravages of time and Imperial collapse) but his wise words are as true today as they were then. The two key elements of a “lucky” sale To be “lucky” in finding the right buyer at the right price you need two key elements – Opportunity: Our Holiday Season is always a prime time to find the perfect buyer, and with our current low interest rates and reports of house prices soaring…
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Unmarried Parents: A New ‘Notice of Birth’ Ruling for Fathers, with 3 Surname Choices

Unmarried Parents: A New ‘Notice of Birth’ Ruling for Fathers, with 3 Surname Choices

New parents, married or not, are obliged by the Births and Deaths Registration Act (“the Act”) to register their child’s birth with Home Affairs within 30 days. However in regard to the actual process of giving this “notice of birth”, the Act has always distinguished between married and unmarried parents. In particular, unmarried fathers have until now been unable to register the child under their own surname except with the mother’s permission. Given the importance - to the child, to the parents and to their wider families – of what surname is entered into the population register, it is perhaps…
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Exemption Clauses in Contracts – Fine Print Can Void Them

Exemption Clauses in Contracts – Fine Print Can Void Them

For suppliers of goods or services, incorporating a strong, clearly worded exemption clause (a clause excluding or restricting your liability to the customer) into your contracts is an essential part of risk management. Just be aware of the restrictions that our laws place on them. As a recent Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) judgment shows, your first hurdle in enforcing a disputed exemption clause could be to convince a court that the consumer did in fact contract on the basis of that condition – “In fine print” and “not conspicuously legible” – so not part of the contract A shipping…
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Fired for a Racist Facebook Post

Fired for a Racist Facebook Post

“The seriousness and gravity of offences involving racism and racial hatred cannot be over-emphasised. Employers are under a duty to provide a safe working environment and to protect all employees from harm, whether physical or emotional, whether they are black or white. An employer can be held liable for failure to take any action against its employees who are guilty of such conduct. South Africa is a country plagued by a history of racism and violence and social media plays a significant role in the incitement of racial hatred and violence. The power of such posts on social media inciting…
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Community Scheme Disputes and the Ombud’s Powers to Resolve Them

Community Scheme Disputes and the Ombud’s Powers to Resolve Them

If you have a dispute with anyone in a “Community Scheme” - sectional title, Homeowners Association (HOA) or the like - remember that your first port of call should be the CSOS (Community Schemes Ombud Service). What disputes can the Ombud resolve? Disputes are inevitable in any community situation, with sources of conflict ranging from noise issues to problem pets, common area usage disagreements, parking space complaints and so on – the list is endless. Another perennial battleground is owners fighting with administrators (normally a body corporate or Homeowners Association) over levies, rules and regulations, and the like. The Ombud’s…
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Walking the “Compulsory Covid-19 Jab” Tightrope

Walking the “Compulsory Covid-19 Jab” Tightrope

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, an increasing number of businesses find themselves walking a tightrope between their obligations to, on the one hand, both protect the public and provide a safe and healthy workplace, and on the other hand to respect the individual constitutional rights of employees to make their own choices in matters of bodily and psychological integrity, religion, belief and opinion. These deeply conflicting rights and obligations have left employers asking themselves questions like: “Must we insist on our employees having the vaccination to protect their colleagues, our visitors, our customers and…
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South Africans – Don’t Lose Your Own Citizenship When You Apply for Another!

South Africans – Don’t Lose Your Own Citizenship When You Apply for Another!

A recent High Court judgment in Democratic Alliance v Minister of Home Affairs and Others (48418/2018) [2021] ZAGPPHC 500 has confirmed that you will lose your South African citizenship if you apply for citizenship of any other country without prior Ministerial permission. It is irrelevant whether you are South African by birth or not. It is also irrelevant why you want to acquire dual citizenship - perhaps you are living/working overseas, perhaps you want a second passport just to make travelling easier, perhaps you have financial reasons. How and why you lose your South African citizenship Dual citizenship itself is…
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Property Sellers: Why, How and When to Choose Your Own Conveyancer

Property Sellers: Why, How and When to Choose Your Own Conveyancer

For many of us, our home is our most important asset so when it comes time for us to sell, do everything possible to ensure that your interests are fully protected, that the sale goes through quickly and smoothly, and that you are paid without unnecessary delay. Appointing the right conveyancer is key here. Let’s have a look at the “Why, Who, How and When” of it… Why do I need a conveyancing attorney? Legal ownership in “immovable” or “fixed” property (that is, land and permanent attachments such as buildings) can only be transferred from seller to buyer through a…
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Where does the law stand on vaccination mandates?

Where does the law stand on vaccination mandates?

Academics, legal professionals and judges have weighed in over the course of the last few months to help us understand what the law is with regards to vaccine mandates. This article will draw on this commentary to help provide some insight as to where we stand in different contexts. Understanding mandates Mandates should be thought about as existing on a spectrum. The most extreme mandate would be where the State forcibly injects a person who has not consented. An example of a less extreme mandate would be the situation where if one does not have a vaccine then the government…
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