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.
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
By Duncan Wild on 2 November 2014
This matter concerns the constitutionality of section 89(5)(b) of the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 (“NCA“). This section of the NCA deals with how unlawful credit agreements must be treated. In particular, providing that the credit agreement be declared void and that the consumer must be refunded any money paid under the agreement. Continue reading
By Duncan Wild on 1 November 2014
This case concerns the interpretation of interpretation of the rules of a pension fund established for employees of local authorities, and their application, particularly in conveying certain redundancy benefits, on employees who were not employed by a local authority but under a special arrangement. Continue reading
By Duncan Wild on 13 August 2014
The case concerns a challenge to an order declaring the first and second appellants (Mr and Mrs Stratford) insolvent, as well as a challenge to the provisions of section 9(4A)(a)(ii) of the Insolvency Act. This section prescribes the manner in which an employee of the debtor is to receive notice of an application for the sequestration of the debtor’s estate. As the law currently stands, this section has been interpreted by the Supreme Court of Appeal to apply only to notice to a debtor’s business employees, however, the appellants claim that it must be interpreted to apply also to a debtor’s domestic employees. Continue reading