Practice Direction: Dies non – December 2014 to January 2015

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The Chief Justice has issued a directive under Rule 32(2) indicating that the period between 16 December 2014 and 2 January 2015 will not be counted in the period permitted in the Constitutional Court Rules for lodging applications, responding affidavits and filing other documents and process. The directive does not apply to dates within the period that have been provided in specific directions.

Read the full directive here.

H v Fetal Assessment Centre

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date Judgment Date Majority Author  Vote
CCT 74/14 Western Cape Division, Cape Town, 24 Apr. 2014 28 Aug. 2014 11 Dec. 2014 Froneman J  Unanimous

By Duncan Wild on 11 December 2014

This is a case seeking to expand the South African common law to recognise a claim for “wrongful life”, or what the applicant calls “wrongful suffering”.  Historically, such claim have arisen where a medical professional is alleged to have failed to inform parents that there is a high risk that a foetus may be born with abnormalities, and had the parents been informed, they not have permitted the foetus to be born.  The applicant sought to cast the claim as one for “wrongful suffering”, seeking to emphasise that it is not claim with the basis that it would have been better for the child not be born, but that in failing to give the accurate information, the physician caused the suffering of the child once it was born. At present neither of these claims exist in South African law, and the applicant sought to have such a claim recognised.

The Constitutional Court did not recognise the claim for “wrongful life”, but indicated that there was the potential for such a claim in South African law, and so upheld the appeal against the High Court’s dismissal of the claim.  The Constitutional Court, however, found that the parties had not put argument before it on how the constitutional protection for the rights a child impacted the claim, and that it would not develop the common law to recognise this claim without all the facts before it.  Therefore, the Constitutional Court indicated that the applicant could amend their papers and reinstitute the case in the High Court which could then consider whether a valid claim existed and whether the applicant met the requirements for that claim.

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Cross-Border Road Transport Agency v Central African Road Services (Pty) Ltd and Another

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 163/14 Gauteng Division, Pretoria, 15 Feb. 2013
Gauteng Division, Pretoria, 1 Nov. 2013
Gauteng Division, Pretoria, 18 Jun. 2014
17 Feb. 2015

By Duncan Wild on 15 November 2014

This matter relates to the 2011 Cross Border Transport Amendment Regulations (“the Regulations“) promulgated by the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (“CBRTA”) which purported to increase the permit fees payable by cross border road transport operators by 250%. In February 2013, the High Court declared the regulations invalid subject to six month period of suspension to allow the regulations to be amended. The suspension period expired and no changes were made to the regulations, and so the High Court declared the regulations invalid with retrospective effect. The CBRTA then appealed. Continue reading

Coughlan NO v The Road Accident Fund

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 160/14 Western Cape Division, 6 Jun. 2013
SCA, 3 Sep. 2014
12 Feb. 2015

By Duncan Wild on 15 November 2014

This matter concerns whether foster child grants made to the foster parent of children whose mother was killed by the driver of a motor car, and for which the Road Accident Fund (“RAF“) admitted liability, are deductible from damages awarded for loss of support to the children.

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My Vote Counts NPC v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 121/14 Application for Direct Access 10 Feb. 2015

By Duncan Wild on 15 November 2014

This matter involves an application for an order by the Constitutional Court that Parliament is obliged to pass legislation that would require the disclosure of the sources and amounts of money donated privately to political parties (“funding legislation“), and that in not passing such legislation, Parliament has failed in its duty.  The applicant further argues that making such an order falls within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, requiring direct access to the Court.   Continue reading

City Power (Pty) Ltd v Grinpal Energy Management Services (Pty) Ltd and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 133/14 Labour Court, 31 Aug. 2012
Labour Appeal Court, 29 May 2014
18 Nov. 2014

By Duncan Wild on 3 November 2014

This case involves the consideration of when the cancellation of a contract under which certain services are outsourced may be considered a transfer of business from the outsourcee to the outsourcer, requiring the outsourcer to take over the employment contracts of the employees of the outsourcer under section 197 of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (“LRA“.) Continue reading

De Vos NO and Others v Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development and Others

Case No. Lower Court Judgments Hearing Date
CCT 150/14 Western Cape Division, Cape Town, 5 Sep. 2014 17 Nov. 2014

By Duncan Wild on 2 November 2014

This matter involves two cases heard together as they seek similar relief, and concern the fate of persons who, by reason of mental illness or mental defect, are unfit to be tried. The relief sought is an order declaring s 77(6) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act, 51 of 1977 (“CPA”) to be unconstitutional.  The section provides that where an accused person is found incapable of understanding the proceedings and so unfit to stand trial, when certain conditions are met, the court must order the person be detained in a psychiatric hospital or prison until a judge orders the person’s release.  Continue reading