When a foreign lawyer spends time observing and interviewing participants in another legal system, the differentiation between mediocre and outstanding lawyering is sometimes quite startling. This article was born out of many months observing and interviewing practitioners in the criminal courts around Cape Town and Johannesburg. If an observer looks closely, she will find that pre-trial plea negotiations persist at all levels of South African criminal courts, particularly among more experienced practitioners, despite the fact that the practice is neither formally sanctioned nor taught in law school trial advocacy courses. This non-recognition of a pervasive practice by the legal hierarchy has created a group of unknowing defenders who are unenlightened regarding the nuances of pre-trial practices and negotiation strategies.
This article analyses the latest trends in Namibia, Mauritius and Europe, as regards the development and future of free trade zone programmes. Thus, it is intended to hopefully further stimulate the (locally indeed controversial) debate as to whether South Africa should consider foreign experiences and take up the gauntlet and establish a free trade zone programme. Free trade zones can indeed contribute to domestic economic growth, and thereby help alleviate South Africa's dramatic unemployment rates, as well as enhance foreign commerce, generate additional foreign exchange and attract foreign investment.
For as long as indigenous law has been studied, there has been difference of opinion with regard to research methodology in this field of law. The conflict ranges between, on the one hand, the behavioural approach to the study of indigenous law (the trouble-case method in which court cases are studied or the daily life of indigenous communities is observed) and, on the other hand, the rule-centred approach which focuses on a framework of western concepts and ideas in an explanation of indigenous law. The first method focuses on facts, the second on rules. Both reflect a partial and constructed reality of African culture and law. But whether the knowledge of indigenous law found in the literature has been obtained through a trouble-case method, or a rule-centred approach, it remains, to a large extent, a western perception of either facts or rules. The rule-centred approach is the more popular and is also the approach followed by the courts.
The problem of parental child snatching has, for a number of reasons, escalated so dramatically over the last two decades that the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction was drawn up to introduce uniform measures to address this problem. The accession to and implementation of this convention by South Africa is a meaningful step in the fight against parental child abduction but it does not fully resolve the problem. Supplementary measures are required. The Hague Convention deals only with international abductions and fails to deal with interstate abductions and recognition and enforcement of foreign custody orders. While South African jurists should guard against re-inventing the wheel and take note of foreign legal development within this field of law, it is neither desirable nor appropriate for South Africa to simply emulate the approach taken to recognition and enforcement of foreign custody awards and the related problem of parental child abduction by any other country.
Countries in the Southern African region are organised under the Southern African Development Community (SADC. They share a common cultural affinity, a colonial legacy, common problems, and a desire for development. One of their shared problems is crime. This article gives a legal perspective of measures that can be taken to work towards crime prevention in the region.
What is 'overbreadth'? This term has been imported into South African law from two different countries, Canada and the United States, which use the term in very different ways. Thus far, the South African usage of overbreadth has displayed elements of both. As a result, a confused, and perhaps contradictory, jurisprudence is developing. In the interest of clarity, this article will untangle the two North American strands of overbreadth, in an attempt to answer three important questions: What is the proper meaning of overbreadth in South Africa? What purpose should it serve? And how should it be applied?
In this contribution the current legal developments in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe with regards to principal legislation, government notices and judicial decisions are briefly descriptionbed.