n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - The decision in : justice miscarried?




The above decision situates itself at the limits of excusable unilateral mistake in the South African law of contract. After some confusion in the past, the then Appellate Division held in the case of that "the decisive question" in the enquiry whether a unilateral mistake can excuse a party from the contract is :

"did the party whose actual intention did not conform to the common intention expressed, lead the other party, as a reasonable man, to believe that his declared intention represented his actual intention? To answer this question, a three-fold enquiry is usually necessary, namely, firstly, was there a misrepresentation as to one party's intention; secondly, who made that representation; and thirdly, was the other party misled thereby? ... The last question postulates two possibilities: Was he actually misled and would a reasonable person have been misled?"

Hierdie bydrae handel met die Hoogste Hof van Appèl se onlangse beslissing in 2007 2 SA 599 (SCA). Daar word geargumenteer dat hierdie beslissing - gegewe onlangse verwarring aangaande die kwessie - verdere helderheid bring betreffende die doktrinêre en beleidsoorwegings wanneer 'n hof gevra word om kontraktuele aanspreeklikheid op grond van die vertrouensteorie te oorweeg. Ten slotte word die teoretiese basis van die reël (aangestip in hierdie uitspraak) vanuit 'n kritiese perspektief in heroënskou geneem.


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