oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The duty to rescue - compulsion or laissez faire?

Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



The purpose of this article was to investigate whether the South African law of delict should recognise a duty of rescue. The method adopted is briefly to set out the general rule of no liability for a mere omission (hereafter the general rule). The various rationales for the general rule were investigated and evaluated for the general rule is really the denial of the duty to rescue except that it goes somewhat wider: it also covers damage to proprietory interests. The arguments favouring a duty of rescue were critically examined and a conclusion on recognition, drawn. The relationship between the duty to rescue and the general rule created certain problems in presenting the material along the proposed lines. Since the duty of rescue is but the somewhat narrower opposite (or negation) of the general rule, no watertight division was possible: an argument in favour of the recognition of a duty to rescue is automatically an argument against the retention of the general rule and vice versa.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error