n Stellenbosch Law Review = Stellenbosch Regstydskrif - Wrongful life claims : a failure to develop the common law?

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1016-4359
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2193



The claim for wrongful life is by no means a novel idea to the South African legal arena. The judiciary has on two occasions been afforded the opportunity to consider and afford recognition to this claim. Unfortunately it has failed to do so. Its failure to do so has amounted to a missed opportunity to develop the common law. This at a time in South Africa's history when the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 clearly places a mandate on courts to develop the common law to bring it in line with the dictates of the Constitution.

This article therefore aims to examine the jurisprudence in South Africa on wrongful life claims. It, in particular, aims to examine the manner in which such claims have been dealt with as well as the reasons provided for its non-recognition. This article will also examine the manner in which the post-Constitution decisions have either complied with or deviated from the standards imposed in the Constitution and considers whether a different outcome could have been reached.

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