October 2020 Case Law Index

14 November 2020 00:00

The October index of the free, online LexisNexis Case Law repository is now available and once again highlights some of the interesting precedent setting cases considered by South Africa’s courts recently.

Among the more high-profile judgments is that of Malawian Christian preacher, Shepherd Bushiri, who sought to interdict the Department of Home Affairs from withdrawing his family’s permanent residence permits and the abeyance of the 30-day period for representations against the withdrawal, pending their criminal trial for fraud and money laundering.

Cases in the Index generally cut across a wide array of legal practice areas, examining complex and often contentious legal concepts.

As always, the free to download LexisNexis Case Law Index details the latest cases from the previous month, as selected by a team of legal experts, to help professionals stay abreast of the latest legal developments. It also provides useful, practical guidance and an understanding of how the law may be interpreted by the court, especially when guidelines may be unclear.

In the Bushiri case, the judge found in favour of the self-proclaimed prophet after considering his right to a fair trial, especially the right to remain silent pre-trial; well-grounded apprehension of harm; and alternative remedies.

In a separate labour law case, the court considered the case of a former employee of a packaged goods company, who claimed that his dismissal for dishonesty was unfair. This was despite his assertion in his application that he had completed a diploma for which he had in fact failed a module. No compensation was awarded after the CCMA found his dismissal procedurally unfair, but with no ensuing prejudice; and substantively fair.

In the case of a disgraced attorney who embezzled a client’s payment of R2 million against the purchase of a property, the judge considered the merits in terms of the Legal Practice Act, though the conduct of the attorney had to be adjudged in accordance with the law before the repeal of the Attorneys Act. The attorney was subsequently struck from the roll.

Finally, a case concerning misrepresentation inducing marriage saw a wife claiming for patrimonial damages against her husband for fraudulently misrepresenting that he loved her prior to their marriage. The plaintiff raised two causes of action: under the lex aquilia for special delictual damages based on the fraudulent misrepresentation; and on the actio iniuriarum for the impairment of her dignity.

The judge ruled that that it would be contrary to public and legal policy to extend the lex aquilia to allow such a claim; and that a long standing rule at common law precludes claims based on the actio iniuriarum between spouses. The exception to the claim for general damages under the actio iniuriarum failed, while the exception to claim for patrimonial damages succeeded and this claim is struck out.

Legal professionals who want to remain in the know about these and other pertinent cases can access the free October Case Law Index here.