The much contested issue of common law contingency fee agreements was resolved by the recent Constitutional Court (CC) judgment in De la Guerre v Ronald Bobroff & Partners Inc and Others (CC) (unreported case no CCT 122/13 , CCT 123/13, 20-2-2014) (Moseneke ACJ, Skweyiya ADCJ, Cameron J, Dambuza AJ, Froneman J, Jafta J, Madlanga J, Van der Westhuizen J and Zondo J) and The South African Association of Personal Injury Lawyers v The Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development (The Road Accident Fund Intervening  2 All SA 96 (GNP). Both these cases dealt with the issue of the constitutionality of the Contingency Fees Act 66 of 1997 (the Act). In the cases, the issue debated was whether it was justifiable for legal practitioners to charge contingency fees outside of the 25% the Act provides for.
Following the passing of former President Nelson Mandela on 5 December 2013 at the age of 95, De Rebus contacted the President of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP), Dr Llewellyn Curlewis for more information on former President Mandela's academic life and legal career.
Cape Town attorney Vanessa Ferguson, speaking at a round table on the fight against counterfeiting in Cape Town on 13 February, said that because South Africa has the largest economy in Africa, it is the top destination for counterfeit goods, with tax revenue in excess of R 2,5 billion estimated to be lost on counterfeit cigarettes annually. She added that in 2010 counterfeiting was responsible for 14 400 job losses in the textile and clothing industries alone.
The National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) held its annual general meeting (AGM) in Durban in February. The theme for the conference was 'Twenty years of democracy - NADEL's commitment to democratic debate and socio-economic justice'. Speakers debated issues around the theme. Opening the conference, Chairperson of the Durban Branch, Raj Badal, asked delegates to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of all of those who passed away in 2013, including former President Nelson Mandela and former Chief Justice Pius Langa.
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), in conjunction with the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, held a summit on professional legal ethics in Durban at the end of February. Topics debated included ethical lawyering in a constitutional democracy, ethics in the pursuit of transformation as well as legal ethics education. Retired Constitutional Court Justice, Zak Yacoob, delivered the keynote address. Delegates who presented papers were admitted attorney and legal academic at Rhodes University, Helen Kruuse; attorney at Le Roux Matthews & Du Plessis, Chris du Plessis and attorney at Ngubane & Partners Incorporated, Madoda Nxumalo. The Chairperson of the LSSA ethics committee, Krish Govender gave the welcome address.
The South African Society for Labour Law (Saslaw) held a fundraising event that coincided with the launching of Saslaw as a non-profit company (NPC). The event was held in Johannesburg. Speakers at the event included the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, John Jeffery; Judge President of the Labour Courts, Basheer Waglay and Judge of the Labour Court, André van Niekerk.
Parliament recently passed three new Bills, namely, the Restitution of Land Rights Amendment Bill B35 of 2013, the Private Security Industry Regulation Amendment Bill B27 of 2012 and the Infrastructure Development Bill B49 of 2013.
The Rules Board under, the auspices of the Justice Department, held an indaba on the legal costs of access to justice in Kempton Park in February 2014. The aim of the indaba was to facilitate discussion on the tariffs in the Supreme Court of Appeal, High Court and magistrates' courts; the creation of a tariff for advocates and the overall impact of tariffs on access to justice. Topics discussed included sustainability of costs in the context of access to justice and the structure of court tariffs for attorneys.
Some 500 attorneys and candidate attorneys have made themselves available as volunteer observers for the national elections on 7 May. The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) registered as an observer body for the national elections and invited attorneys and candidate attorneys to join the LSSA observer team.
The Legal Practice Bill was passed by the National Assembly on 12 March 2014 and was sent to the office of the State Legal Adviser for final constitutional scrutiny. This was expected to be completed during April 2014 and the President was expected to assent to the Bill before the national elections on 7 May. This would then signal the start of the transitional process, which will be steered by the National Forum on the Legal Profession (NFLP).
Norton Rose Fulbright has entered into a Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) Synergy Link agreement as a transferring firm with Lankalebalelo Attorneys, as the growing firm, to transfer relevant skills to assist the growing firm to explore and develop new areas of practice, as well as providing advice and support on business and management related aspects.
Damages that flow from the failure to make payment timeously have recently been the subject of debates in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). As a result thereof, a number of principles emanating from a creditor's right to claim interest have been formulated in a number of reported cases.
Lawyers like to think that they are guided by logic, reason and facts. But does that process always lead to the truth? It is good to be sensible, rational and objective, but is it enough? Intuition is something that some people have often derided as some sort of irrational, emotional fantasy, which at best is patronisingly tolerated as a harmless form of foolishness. However, in a world where decisions frequently have to be made under severe time constraints and with tight budgets and limited information, more lawyers are having to trust their gut feeling or intuition.
Section 78(3) of the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 obliges practitioners to pay any interest earned on deposits in trust accounts in terms of s 78(1) and (2) over to the Attorneys Fidelity Fund (AFF). The AFF has, at its discretion, allowed the following in this regard: Practitioners may deduct 100% of the allowable bank charges incurred on the s 78(1) funds and pay over the net interest to the AFF. However, if the bank charges incurred exceed the interest earned on the s 78(1) funds, the practitioner bears the cost.
The Western Cape High Court delivered a judgment in the matter of S v Tong 2013 (1) SACR 346 (WCC) on 7 September 2012. The matter related to a case where the appellant (Tong) paid an admission of guilt fine in November 2008 after he had been arrested on a charge of possession of dagga in contravention of s 4(b) of the Drugs and Drug Trafficking Act 140 of 1992 and was subsequently released from custody.
This is a follow-up to the article 'Mergers and takeovers under the new Companies Act' (2011 (Sept) DR 30) where I discussed the fact that South African mergers and acquisitions are experiencing a paradigm shift following the enactment and implementation of the new Companies Act 71 of 2008 (the Act) on 1 May 2011, replacing the old order.
The act of 'sexting' or to 'sext' is defined as the exchange of pornographic material or sexually explicit messages, pictures or videos via a mobile phone or the internet. The assumption is that not all pornography, and especially sexting, is reported in case law in South Africa, which creates gaps in the reported case law. Therefore most of the information is article based. The objective of this article is to, first, establish the relation between sexting and pornography, secondly, to determine whether there are reported cases of sexting and, lastly, to determine how South African courts and legislation have dealt with sexting. It discusses the premise that sexting is influenced by an increase in the use of mobile technology making it more available globally for both adults and children.
There is a general misconception in divorce litigation that a finding of 'substantial misconduct' on the part of a spouse who, for example, had extra marital affairs, justifies an order for forfeiture of the benefits of a marriage in community of property or, alternatively, the right to share in the accrual. Substantial misconduct on the part of a spouse is, however, only one of the factors that the court may take into consideration in this regard.