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Most recent General Legal Practice Articles posted

Ombud refers pensioner’s Sharemax complaint to court

A pensioner who invested in various property syndication schemes promoted and marketed by Sharemax Investments and Propspec, and was seeking the repayment of R1.54m he invested and lost in these schemes, has had his complaint referred to court. Pieter Taljaard filed eight complaints with the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services (Fais) Ombud in 2012 on the investments, according to a report in The Sunday Indpendent.

Top attorney in LSSA dispute over certificate

Veteran attorney and former co-chair of the Law Society of SA Silas Nkanunu has fallen foul of the society’s provincial arm, which is seeking to interdict him from practising until he gets his fidelity fund certificate, says a Daily Dispatch report. The Cape Law Society claims in court papers that Nkanunu – a partner in Port Elizabeth firm Silas Nkanunu & Van Loggerenberg – has been practising throughout 2017 without a fidelity fund certificate.

Sting operation busts human trafficking ring

A sting operation by the SAPS, the Hawks and Interpol has foiled a human-trafficking incident that could have led to at least 14 young women from as many countries falling prey to a fake Internet modelling competition, notes a Sunday Tribune report. Among the women who were lured to the web-based scheme was a 24-year-old South African from Bloemfontein, while others came from as far as Barbados and several Asian countries.

Move to mediation to cut medico-legal claims

Skyrocketing medico-legal claims threaten to cripple SA’s public and private health sectors as specialists face exorbitant litigation. Without drastic intervention, experts warn, healthcare could soon become unaffordable – or unavailable. Meanwhile, legal experts say mediation could be a solution hiding in plain sight, notes a Bhekisisa report.

Lawyers urged not to delay sheriffs' payments

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has urged lawyers not to delay the payment of sheriffs' accounts to the last possible date following what is described as ‘a very productive meeting’ with the Deputy Minister of Justice, John Jeffery, notes Legalbrief.

Cancer suits could run to millions

The KZN Department of Health faces legal action from state cancer patients running into millions of rands following the recent finding it had violated their rights to care and treatment, says a Sunday Tribune report. ‘We are already seeing a spike in queries following the ruling and are consulting with some clients around this matter. The ruling against the department by the SA Human Rights Commission is precedent-setting even though it is yet to be tested in court,’ lawyer Ahmed Amod said.

Van Breda wins live-streaming battle

Murder-accused Henri van Breda has won his battle in the SCA to prohibit Media24 from live-streaming his trial, notes a News24 report. ‘The matter is remitted to the High Court for reconsideration in accordance with the principles set out in the judgment,’ the SCA ruled yesterday, ordering Media24 to pay Van Breda's costs.

Analysis: Time for Judge Hlophe to face the music

Western Cape Judge President John Hlophe has found himself the focus of a searing SCA judgment handed down last week with regard to his conduct in another matter involving the alleged theft of R48-million by a businessman. The man was represented in court by the same attorney representing Hlophe in pending disciplinary proceedings before the Judicial Services Commission over allegations that the Judge President approached two Justices of the Constitutional Court in 2008 in an attempt to improperly influence that court’s pending judgment in a case involving Jacob Zuma. Hlophe was excoriated by the SCA for potential bias in ruling in favour of the crooked businessman.

JSC studying SCA's Hlophe bias judgment

The JSC says it is studying the SCA judgment – first reported in Legalbrief Today last week – which linked the Western Cape High Court Judge President John Hlophe to a ‘reasonable apprehension’ of bias when ruling in favour of his personal lawyer in a multi-million lawsuit.

Bank's reliance on 'accelerator' clause dismissed

The Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) has refused to enforce an ‘accelerator’ clause in a home loan agreement based on a 2016 Constitutional Court judgment making it much more difficult for banks to take back the homes of defaulters, a Beeld report notes.

Collecting Arrear Levies: A New Risk for Your Body Corporate

Levy collections are the life blood of sectional title schemes, and collecting them is likely to get harder with the economic fallout from our downgrade to junk status. So if you own property in a scheme, and particularly if you are a trustee of your body corporate, you need to know about the new SCA (Supreme Court of Appeal) decision in Body Corporate of Empire Gardens v Sithole and Another (240/2016) [2017] ZASCA 28 which puts at risk the body corporate’s right to apply for sequestration of levy defaulters.

Legal challenge possible over courts language policy

A legal challenge is on the cards following a decision to make English the official language of record for courts. Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng’s office confirmed the decision, which has already attracted criticism from AfriForum and the Pan South African Language Board, notes a Sunday Times report. AfriForum’s Alana Bailey said the pro-Afrikaans group was considering mounting a legal challenge, and Rakwena Monareng, CEO of the Language Board, said while the board would seek a discussion with the heads of courts, litigation could not be ruled out.

Attorney billing judgment to be appealed

Judge Neil Tuchten, of the Gauteng High Court (Pretoria), has handed down an important judgment confirming the basis on which an attorney may bill a client, according to a report by Tony Beamish on the Moneyweb site. The case was brought by Cadac CEO Simon Nash and his company Midmacor Industries (Midmacor) against pension fund curator, Tony Mostert, his law firm AL Mostert & Co, the Financial Services Board (FSB), and the Registrar of Pension Funds.

LSSA rejects medical negligence claims allegations

The Law Society of SA (LSSA) is concerned at allegations made against attorneys at last week’s joint sitting of Parliament’s Appropriations and the Health Committees, and is seeking a meeting with the committees to discuss what it claims are unsubstantiated and sensationalist allegations with regard to medical negligence claims.

Two KZN judges in running for Constitutional Court positions

Two KZN judges are among those in the running for one of the top spots in the judiciary, says a report in The Mercury. Judge Malcolm Wallis and Judge Leona Theron were selected to be interviewed for a seat on the Constitutional Court after the JSC met last week.

ANC blocks suspension of dodgy magistrate

ANC MPs closed ranks yesterday to block the suspension of a Regional Court president accused of bunking work. North West Regional Court President Seka Monaledi is facing several serious allegations‚ highlighted in a report drawn up by the Magistrates’ Commission after a preliminary investigation into her conduct, says a TimesLIVE report.

Timeframe for JP nominations too tight

Two lawyers’ associations have complained to the JSC they did not have enough time to nominate for the head of the judiciary in the Eastern Cape. A Daily Dispatch report says the incumbent – Judge President Clement Temba Sangoni – is set to retire in August. The Mthatha branch of the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (Nadel) and Transkei Attorneys Association (TAA) said the advertisement for the Judge President’s vacancy was only placed on 27 January, giving stakeholders a week to nominate a candidate by the closing date of 3 February.

Bringing private prosecutions not straight forward

Whether Advocate Gerrie Nel, who resigned from the NPA this week to set up a prosecutions wing for lobby group AfriForum, will be able to operate as planned depends on AfriForum clearing several legal obstacles. The Criminal Procedure Act sets stringent requirements before a private prosecution can begin, notes a TimesLIVE analysis of what is required before a prosecution can proceed.

East London Maintenance Court bungles payments

The Department of Justice’s Maintenance Court in East London is under fire as single mothers accuse court clerks of bungling their child support payments. The Daily Dispatch says it understands that the child support money is deposited into the court’s bank account and a court clerk then transfers it to the legal guardian of the child, often the mother.

'Sanitised' Traditional Courts Bill unveiled

Intent on ending the furore over the Traditional Courts Bill, the Justice Ministry hopes its third try at getting Parliament to approve the law will succeed, some nine years later than planned, says a Daily Maverick report. Heavily revised in more than a year of consultation with a reference group of traditional leaders and civil society, the latest version has dropped controversial previous provisions that would have unconstitutionally reinforced a separate legal system for traditional communities and allowed penalties such as forced labour, banned in section 13 of the Constitution.

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