This article attempts to review the doctrine of ultra vires from a British law perspective, and to establish why, despite persistent calls for its abolition, it survived for so long in British company law. Have the efforts to reform it been improper or inadequate? Do the reforms introduced by the Companies Act 1989 adequately solve the problems associated with the doctrine? Does it still serve a useful purpose in modern company law? In an attempt to answer these and other questions, the doctrine is examined from its inception to the present day. References to the position in other countries are made where appropriate.
The doctrine of economic duress, in England, in the USA and in South Africa, is still in the process of development and the prevailing notions of what constitutes equitable or decent conduct furnish the basis for the legal definition of duress. All the elements in the transaction must be considered and the pressure used must be compared with what the court thinks is decent conduct, which probably means the standards generally prevailing in the community. Recognition of economic duress is more important to the Anglo-American law of contract than to European law because in both England and the USA, the courts refuse to inquire into the adequacy of consideration. If the courts are to refuse to inquire into adequacy of consideration, it becomes all the more important that they inquire into the pressure used to bring about a private settlement of disputes. The point is also relevant to South African law.
The main concern of this article on the law of war has been to trace its practical impact on the conduct of hostilities and the fate of ANC combatants to internationalise the South African armed conflict. It is clear that international law has until recently had little real impact on the conduct of the conflict. The government has not found the political will to apply international law. The political disadvantages of recognising the legitimacy of its enemies' combatants have outweighed the humanitarian imperatives for the application of international law. Nevertheless, the international community's less ambitious goal of curtailing the execution of ANC members has to some extent been realised through the consideration of international developments on sentence by the South African criminal courts. In allowing this consideration, South Africa has begun to follow the practice of other states faced with similar conflicts.
Namibia gained her independence on 21 March 1990 after 105 years of colonial rule. Article 18 of the Namibian Constitution provides an opportunity for all concerned, particularly lawyers - both practitioners and academics - to make meaningful contributions towards the development of administrative law in Namibia. This article should be seen as an effort toward that objective. The purpose of "administrative justice" is to enable the people to rely on the law to ensure that the power of the administrative bodies and administrative officials is used in a manner compatible with the "ideas of fair dealing and good administration." It is when this goal has been attained that the courts and the tribunals will be able to say that they have contributed to the attainment of "administrative justice" enshrined in the Constitution as a fundamental human right.
In this article the author addresses the increased application of the common purpose doctrine in Bophuthatswanan capital cases since the period of political upheaval in the mid-eighties. The use of legal fiction in capital cases may affect the principle of equality before the law. It may also have a bearing on the constitutionality of capital punishment in Bophuthatswana where its Bill of Rights and legal system is regularly vaunted by politicians and members of the judiciary, while the population at large remain unimpressed and cynical about the legal order. The application of such a legal fiction emphasises the arbitary nature of the death penalty. The resumption of hangings in Bophuthatswana illustrates this point.
In this contribution the current legal developments in Botswana, Ciskei, Namibia, South Africa, Transkei, Venda, Zambia and Zimbabwe with regards to principal legislation, government notices and judicial decisions are briefly descriptionbed.