n Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg - For whom the bell tolls ... interplay between law of delict and social security law in three modern compensation systems

Volume 2010, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0257-7747
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2207



The theme of this article is the interaction between law of delict and social security law. By way of introduction to this vast topic, the following can be said : the advent of the welfare state in Europe saw a shift in policy in that many traditional functions of the law of delict were replaced either totally or in part by social security measures. Criticism of delictual claims included the high cost associated with litigation and the unpredictable outcome of such litigation. This prediction of the demise of one of the fundamental systems of the law of obligations in favour of a public system of compensation seemed like a good idea because social security law does provide attractive alternatives to claims based on delict. For instance, in social security law there is a solvent statutory fund that takes care of the most pressing needs of a victim immediately after a damage-causing event. The fact that a wrongdoer is a man of straw is then of no concern to the victim, who has an immediate need such as medical care and income replacement. Whether the bell has in fact tolled for delictual compensation in modern legal systems, and, more importantly, whether delictual principles have become completely obsolete, are very topical questions.

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