The then Minister of Justice, Jeff Radebe, introduced the idea of appointing the country's first solicitor-general in 2012. At the time, Minister Radebe said: 'The solicitor-general will be the state's chief legal adviser in all civil litigation, similar to the role of the National Director of Public Prosecutions in criminal matters'. The solicitor-general will also manage the offices of state attorneys in the interests of effective legal services. The office will take over litigation by government departments and parastatals, and make sure that the work contracted out to lawyers and advocates in private practice is distributed fairly.
The International Bar Association recently celebrated the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta by holding a conference in Cape Town in May. Topics discussed at the celebratory event included the role of lawyers in upholding democracy and upholding the rights of individuals; challenges to judicial independence; maintaining limits on government power in modern states; and the recognition and application of equality.
The National Bar Association (NBA) held an international affiliates' meeting with the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) and the Black Lawyers Association (BLA) in Sandton in May. The NBA is the United States' (US) oldest and largest national association of predominantly african-american lawyers, judges, educators and law students. It has 84 affiliate chapters throughout the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Africa and the Caribbean. It represents a professional network of more than 65 000 people.
The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) has completed its discussion paper on the review of the law relating to the expungement of certain criminal records. The request for the investigation of the expungement of previous convictions follows from the enactment of the Criminal Procedure Amendment Act 65 of 2009. The Act, inter alia, deals with the expungement of certain minor criminal records. The Portfolio Committee concluded that the expungement of criminal records is a complex matter that requires a balance between the rights of citizens to be protected against criminals and the recognition that having a criminal record can cause undue hardship for an individual.
Former Constitutional Court Justice, Richard Goldstone, spoke at the Africa Legal Aid (AFLA) symposium in Sandton in May. AFLA held a symposium titled 'Universalising the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court' (ICC). The event was attended by participants from more than 30 countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Burundi, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Zambia, Libya and South Africa, to engage with officials of ICC state parties and representatives of international and intergovernmental organisations.
The National Press Club and North-West University declared the Oscar Pistorius trial as the Newsmaker of the Year for 2014. The award was handed over to Deputy Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Justice Dikgang Moseneke on 15 May at the CSIR International Conference Centre in Pretoria.
Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, signed a R 3 million extension agreement with the Swiss Confederation on the re-engineering of small claims courts (SCCs) in May. The agreement, which has been implemented in two phases from 2007 to 2011 is aimed at improving the functioning and efficiency of SCCs.
The question whether units in a sectional title scheme may be validly sold where the development was situated on land in respect of which a township application was lodged with the relevant local authority but was not yet proclaimed was decided in the Robertsville matter.
The Attorneys Amendment Act 40 of 2014 was promulgated in GG38821/27-5-2015 in December 2014 and came into operation on 29 May 2015. Its aim is to amend the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 as an interim measure. Below is a summary of the sections practitioners should take note of.
Allowing events to destroy the vision you have of your firm can be managed and limited, but how? When you decide to open a firm, irrespective of size, you have taken a decision to run a business. Wikipedia defines a business as 'an organisation involved in the trade of goods, services, or both to consumers [or clients]' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/business, accessed 25-5-2015). Legal firms are mainly involved in providing professional services to clients. While you may have thought through what you would like to achieve in running a business, there could be opportunistic events that may affect the realisation of your goals.
Some accidents occur in circumstances where the evidence of the alleged negligence of the defendant is not easily available to the plaintiff but is, or should be, to the defendant. The maxim of res ipsa loquitur is generally considered to be no more than a convenient label to describe situations where notwithstanding the plaintiff's inability to establish the exact cause of the accident the fact of the accident by itself is sufficient to justify the conclusion that the defendant was probably negligent, and in the absence of an explanation by the defendant to the contrary that such negligence caused the injury to the plaintiff (P van den Heever and P Carstens Res Ipsa Loquitur & Medical Negligence: A Comparative Survey (Cape Town: Juta 2011) at 2). In Horner v Northern Pacific Benefitial Association Hospitals Inc (1963) 382 P.2d 518 at 523 Hale J expressed the following instructive thoughts on the maxim: 'The rule is a good one, and it ought not to be muddled with over-refinement and the casuistry so frequently the by-product of overwriting and overtalking about the same subject'.
As a family law practitioner, I have realised that when entering into marriage, most people are not aware of the laws that have direct effect on their estates and only get to be conscious of them when they divorce. The aim of this article is to highlight different matrimonial regimes in South Africa, but more particularly to discuss an option available to those whose marriage is subject to an accrual system as far as protecting their claim to the growth of their spouses' estates is concerned. I will show that the Matrimonial Property Act 88 of 1984 (the Act) does provide for the division of the growth of the marriage without the parties thereto actually instituting divorce proceedings.