Law reform is not exclusively a legal topic: it is also a social and moral problem. It is no longer possible to think of the law as an esoteric and technical discipline, whose values are safe in the hands of the judges and the profession. Contemporary society requires that it be given the opportunity to test its laws by its own criteria,. it insists that laws are either to serve the needs of society or to be rejected. We demand, not only that the tables be brought down from the mountain and their meaning be made clear, but that we have the liberty to smash and replace them.
Law in its generic sense is, and has throughout the ages - albeit in primitive communities only in embryo form - been so indispensible a part of the fabric of society that it has, as it were, today become such an accepted commonplace as curiously enough sometimes to give rise to a measure of confusion. For instance, to many laymen, the term ""law"" often connotes only the criminal law. On the other hand, the expression ""the rule of law"" has for some years past increasingly tended in various parts of the world to be used as conveying, or being closely associated with, implications of an essentially political nature.
The Hire Purchase Act 36 of 1942, is a short and straightforward one, but it is in the practical and just application of its provisions that many problems arise. This memorandum has been prepared for the use of civil magistrates in Johannesburg, and an attempt has also been made to cover most of the queries and questions referred to the Magistrate, Johannesburg, from time to time by magistrates of other districts. For this reason this article will also be submitted to the editor of ""The Magistrate"" for publication, should he deem fit.
The committee on Maritime Law of the Business Law Section of the International Bar Association hopes to produce an authoritative guide for lawyers practising in admiralty work. For this purpose questionnaires relating to the arrest and enforced sales of ships were submitted to committee members and member law societies. Mr. D. H. Sampson, an attorney of Durban prepared the replies to the questionnaires on behalf of the Association of Law Societies.
The Director of Legal Aid has been occupied for some time in the preparation of a legal aid guide. He has, however, had to delay its completion because in practice it has been found that a number of changes have from time to time had to be made to the scheme. What follows is a very simple outline of the established practical procedures. There are complexities, there are exceptions and there are situations which will arise, but which are not dealt with in these notes.