oa Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - The draft legislation concerning public interest actions and class actions: the answer to all class ills?



Class actions and public interest actions are part of the world wide trend towards achieving the goal of access to justice. Although the terms 'class rights' and 'class' are not alien to South African company law,· these terms have generally not been part of the legal parlance and have so far not been used in the context of class actions as encountered in American law simply because they were unknown in South Africa until recently. However, the need for such an action was identified more than ten years ago. Meanwhile, the Constitution has formally introduced class actions into South African law. The type of class action envisaged in the Constitution is limited to the protection of the fundamental rights set out in chapter two. The protection is directed at the contents of all legislation and in respect of administrative decisions by the state. Because of this limitation the South African Law Commission recommended that' legislative intervention in the form of an act of Parliament is necessary to make provision for class actions and proposed draft legislation,


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