South Africa is experiencing rampant criminality with the rates of serious violent crime stabilising on an unacceptably high plateau (the world's highest rape rate - 120 per 100 000 and a murder rate of 56 per 100 000 - more than ten times that of the USA). Against this background I believe that the spotlight should begin to focus on the victims of crime and their rights rather than those of the perpetrator. Ironically, while our Constitution contains two-and-a-half pages on the rights of suspects and the accused, it is silent on the rights of victims of crime.
In an article entitled 'The mediation groundswell' published in 1998 (April) DR 58 I expressed the view that lawyers might 'feel anxious and threatened by the spectre of the alternative dispute resolution movement' but that there was no need to feel that way. My reasons follow. 'The duty to do his best in the service of the client is the paramount duty of the practitioner.'
The Attorneys Amendment Act 115 of 1998, which was passed by Parliament at the end of last year, provides, first, for the exclusion of cover by the Attorneys Fidelity Fund (AFF) for loss resulting from the theft of investment funds by attorneys, The AFF has hitherto been exposed to the risk of considerable loss from investment practices, Practitioners administer very substantial sums of money entrusted to them for investment purposes, and the theft of even a small portion of such funds in circumstances in which the AFF would be required to reimburse the loss suffered, would have a considerable impact on the AFF's resources,
As a result of the many articles that I have written in this journal over the course of the past few years, I have had much positive feedback from colleagues. Many have written to me seeking advice and others have telephoned me. I thought it would be a good idea to have a central repository where colleagues could go online to have an objective overview of what is available to the profession in some of the following areas: ï¿½ Legal employment. ï¿½ Lawyers' marketplace to search for local and international legal technology and services. ï¿½ Law links. ï¿½ SA sites of general interest. ï¿½ SA attorneys' and advocates' homepages and e-mail addresses.
Many small law practices and sole practitioners are forced, because of their structure and limited resources, to rely heavily on their bookkeepers. Again, for the same reasons, many bookkeepers act also as office managers and administrators. Furthermore, because their function is not one likely to generate fee income, they are taken for granted and regarded by many staff members (and partners as well), as only a necessary overhead. Frequently their responsibilities and duties are ill-defined and their role underestimated.
Amendments to ss 25 and 26 of the Sectional Titles Act 95 of 1986 introduced by the Sectional Titles Amendment Act 44 of 1997 offer welcome new development opportunities to bodies corporate. These opportunities may indirectly also be used by developers, by negotiating a cession of the body corporate's real right to extend. But the implications to extend. But the implications fully considered in order to avoid being lured into a procedural cul-de-sac.
Much has been written and said about South Africa's military intervention into Lesotho. South Africa's action has been lauded by some and vilified by others. Various profound questions have arisen out of this action. These questions relate to politics, economics, international relations and international law. I will concentrate solely on the international law aspects of what is referred to in international law parlance as 'intervention'.