Pacta sunt servanda, the sanctity of contractual terms agreed to between parties, is a fundamental principle in South African common law, ensuring that the obligations on parties concerned are not undermined by factors outside the four corners of the agreement (Ndlovu v Ngcobo: Bekker and Another v Jika  4 All SA 384 (SCA)).
The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) held its 37th annual general meeting (AGM) in Milnerton, Cape Town on 17 to 18 October. The theme of the AGM was: 'The right to legal representation - 20 years into democracy - where are we?' Guests at the gala dinner and AGM included Justice Minister Michael Masutha; Judge President of the North and South Gauteng High Courts, Dunstan Mlambo; Deputy Justice Minister, John Jeffery; National Director of Public Prosecutions, Mxolisi Nxasana; Western Cape Premiere, Helen Zille; Tax Ombudsman and retired Judge Bernard Ngoepe; chief executive officer of the Attorneys Fidelity Fund, Motlatsi Molefe and senior judges from various divisions of the courts.
Father and daughter team, Mpho and Anthony Sefo were also among those that attended the Law Society of the Free State AGM in Welkom at the end of October. Ms Sefo obtained her LLB degree at the University of the Free State and is currently serving her articles at her father's law firm, AG Sefo Attorneys, which offers services in various fields of law in Welkom. Ms Sefo's future plans are to go abroad to study towards Masters in international human rights and then to work for the African Union and then ultimately the United Nations.
Gauteng attorney, Jolène Leeuwner-Maritz, who is a partner at Leeuwner Maritz Attorneys, has won the 6th annual South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) Woman in Business award. The award was given on 22 October at Sacci's gala dinner.
Legal Aid South Africa served 776 301 people in the 2013/14 financial year. This is according to Legal Aid SA chief executive officer, Vidhu Vedalankar's, report to parliament's Portfolio Committee on Justice and Correctional Services in Cape Town. The report was delivered on 17 October.
Probono.Org held its inaugural Pro Bono Awards in Johannesburg on 7 October to highlight and acknowledge the work done by individuals and firms in the private legal profession; to raise the awareness of pro bono work; and to encourage more lawyers and firms to participate.
The SADC Lawyers' Association (SADC LA) together with the Bar Association of Mozambique (OAM) jointly observed the general elections held in Mozambique on 15 October. These were one of the most anticipated elections in southern Africa given the unrest and conflict, which began in 2012 and subsequent withdrawal of the main opposition party, Resistência Nacional Moçambicana/Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), from the 1992 peace agreement. Overall, the elections took place peacefully but a number of issues of concern were noted by the observation mission that questioned the credibility of the elections.
It happens every day: A body corporate (or home owners' association) institutes action against one of its members for account arrears, and simply levies the attorney's presented costs onto the defendant's account, often despite vehement protestation on the part of the defaulter.
Over the past few years there has been a surge of international law firms opening offices in South Africa. Global firms such as Dentons, Hogan Lovells, Clyde & Co, Norton Rose Fulbright and Linklaters are among the many law firms that have recently launched a presence in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban - either in their own right or as a tie-up with a local player, and more often than not, driven by a client's need to have a credible presence in the market.
As part of remaining transparent and accountable to their clients, practitioners are required by their rules to account to their clients at the end or termination of the mandate. This accounting to clients must include the reflection of interest earned on s 78(2A) investment and administration fees taken from that interest, inclusive of VAT where the firm charges VAT. While we take full cognisance of the fact that the administration fees taken from interest earned on s 78(2A) are not the only source of income for the practitioners, this article seeks to address the shortfalls that have been identified around the administration fees on s 78(2A) investments.
It is a general practice of many Internet users to enter their names on Internet search engines in order to see what appears or is stored under their names on the Internet. In fact in one of the seminars I recently attended, on the subject of personal image and branding, attendees were advised to manage their online or Internet image by being careful about what they put or publish on the Internet under their names, and by also occasionally searching their names on Internet search engines in order to stay informed about what is stored under their names.
The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) has had a substantial impact on the rental property market since its commencement on 31 March 2011. More specifically s 14, which applies to all fixed term agreements, unless entered into between juristic persons, regardless of their asset value or annual turnover. In the majority of cases, lease agreements would be entered into for a fixed term. Considering the above, it is apparent that s 14 would be applicable to many, if not the majority of lease agreements relating to immovable property, especially lease agreements concerning residential property.
The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (CPA) came into force on 1 April 2011. It is here to stay and it regulates the relationship between a supplier of goods and/or services to a consumer. It therefore applies to services rendered by attorneys. The full impact of the CPA is set to be massive but stands to be developed to the full in time.
Tremendous strides have been made towards the regulation of business rescue practitioners. The Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) currently issues conditional licences to business rescue practitioners and the experience of the applicant as well as the size of the company are factors taken into account. The CIPC's authority is conferred on it by the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (the Act) and the Companies Regulations, 2011. The present system is merely the foundation and requires perfecting if business rescue practitioners are to be adequately regulated. The need for better regulation stems from the complex task that a business rescue practitioner undertakes.