South Africa is hailed as having one of the best constitutions in the world, yet in April as the country was about to celebrate 21 years of democracy the country experienced a wave of xenophobic attacks, leaving many foreign nationals displaced from their homes and having to live in camps. Reports of these attacks in mainstream and social media reached every corner of the world, putting to shame the achievements the country has made in the past 21 years.
The court order allowing advocate Robin Stransham-Ford to ask a doctor to help him end his life, and also declaring that the doctor who did so would not be acting illegally, will not be rescinded, even though he died two hours before the order was granted. This is according to Judge Hans Fabricius who turned down an application by the Justice and Health Ministers, the National Director of Public Prosecution and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) to rescind the order he granted on 30 April.
ProBono.Org and the Law Society of the Northern Provinces (LSNP) have opened a joint pro bono office in Pretoria. The new office, which is situated at the Kutlwanong Democracy Centre found at 357 Visagie Street, was opened on 6 May.
Legal and professional information provider, LexisNexis South Africa, has released its latest LexisNexis Human Trafficking Awareness Index report. The report looks at the volume of human trafficking news and high profile cases across South Africa and the continent for a 12-month period from January to December 2014.
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) launched an application in the Gauteng Division, Pretoria in March this year to declare the actions of the President, as well as the Minsters of Justice and International Relations and Cooperation in voting for, signing and planning to ratify the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit Protocol in 2014 as it relates to the SADC Tribunal, to be unconstitutional. The respondents filed notice to oppose in April.
Intellectual property law firm, Adams & Adams has won the 2015 Managing Intellectual Property (MIP) award for the Best intellectual property (IP) law firm in Africa. The awards were held in London in March. The MIP is a global magazine that is recognised as the voice of the IP industry.
The Co-chairpersons of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), Richard Scott and Busani Mabunda, made a R 50 000 donation to the Gift of the Givers Foundation towards assistance for the victims of the xenophobic violence that marred our country in the weeks preceding the celebration of 21 years of democracy in April this year. In addition, the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society (KZNLS) and the Law Society of the Northern Provinces - representing the attorneys in the areas most hit by the violence - offered the services of attorneys to assist victims - both foreign and local - on a pro bono basis.
In May, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) commented to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) on the draft Policy and Criteria for Evaluating Foreign Qualifications within the South African National Qualifications Framework. The LSSA supported the principles set out in the policy document, in particular the principle that professional bodies can be recognised to participate in the evaluation process and chain.
A few months ago I attended a talk on mediation by Professor Mohamed Paleker, a professor of law at the University of Cape Town. During the talk, Prof Paleker, who is also a member of the Rules Board for Courts of Law, focused on the then pending introduction of the court-annexed mediation rules. The rules have since come into operation on 1 December 2014.
Why do so many claims become prescribed? It might surprise many readers to know that professional indemnity (PI) claims against legal practitioners in South Africa hardly ever result from the practitioner's lack of legal knowledge.
The appointment of judges is important in any society. As the third arm of government, tasked with upholding rights and adjudicating disputes, a functioning credible judiciary is essential to constitutional order.
Current developments in the South African Value Added Tax (VAT) regime consist of new digital tax reforms in comport with the principle of fiscal neutrality. Application of the underlying principle of fiscal neutrality inherent in the common system of VAT requires equal treatment of similar goods and services supplied by taxable persons, which are in competition with each other, see Grattan PLC v Her Majesty's Revenue & Customs  UKFTT 488 (TC) at paras 25 - 27 and 38; Fischer v Finanzamt Donaueschingen  ECR I-3369 at paras 27 - 30; Schmeink & Cofreth AG & Co. KG v Finanzamt Borken and Manfred Strobel  ECR I-6973 at paras 55 - 59. These fundamental tax changes have a colossal impact on e-commerce and also play a pivotal role in aligning current tax laws with contemporary developments in the field of e-commerce.
The judgment of Sibisi NO v Maitin 2014 (6) SA 533 (SCA) (see also See 2015 (Jan/Feb) DR 54) saw the issues of medical negligence and the absence of informed consent once again considered by the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA). This article focuses on the nature and requirements underlying the two grounds of liability and aims to show that the reasoning behind and the results of the court's decision are untenable.
April 2015 (2) South African Law Reports (pp 331 - 648);  1 All South African Law Reports March no 1 (pp 525 - 648) and no 2 (pp 649 - 718); 2014 (12) Butterworths Constitutional Law Reports - December (pp 1397 - 1513) and 2015 (1) Butterworths Constitutional Law Reports - January (pp 1 - 125).
Male surrogate parent successfully claims maternity leave: MIA v State Information Technology Agency (Pty) Ltd (LC) (unreported case no D312/2012, 26-3-2015) (Gush J). Having entered into a same sex civil union with his spouse in terms of the Civil Union Act 17 of 2006, the applicant, his spouse and a surrogate mother concluded a surrogacy agreement as contemplated in the Children's Act 38 of 2005.