Insider trading – big brother is watching!

Insider trading – big brother is watching!

Legal
If you trade in a public company’s shares, bonds or other securities (on the JSE for example) be careful of our “market abuse” rules. They are wide enough that you could fall foul of them inadvertently, and as the penalties for non-compliance are harsh take specific advice in any doubt. What is “inside information” and are you an “insider”? “Insider Trading” is a commonly-encountered type of “market abuse”, but many company directors and other share investors aren’t entirely sure what is outlawed and what is allowed. In short, inside information is any specific information which is “obtained or learned as an insider” and which, if it were made public, “would be likely to have a material effect on the price or value of any security listed on a regulated market.”…
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Demolish or go to jail: Property developer in the doghouse

Demolish or go to jail: Property developer in the doghouse

Legal
An extract from judgment in EThekwini Municipality v Bhardwaj (3135/2015) [2015] ZAKZDHC 80, which is available here: SAFLII “….. a lenient approach ….. would also lead to an open invitation to members of the public to follow the course adopted by the [developer] and to continue with the construction of buildings and structures in circumstances where the authority therefor has not been obtained from the relevant municipality” 30 days – that’s how long a property developer will spend in the local lock-up unless he demolishes illegal building works. A deviation from plans ….. A property developer obtained municipal approval to build a house on his property The municipality, finding on inspection that the construction taking place deviated from the approved plans, obtained a court order forbidding him to continue Undaunted,…
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Redflag provisions in the South African Arbitration Act may hinder swift and efficient arbitrations

Redflag provisions in the South African Arbitration Act may hinder swift and efficient arbitrations

Legal
In recent years there has been increased reliance on use of arbitration to resolve commercial disputes. The hallmark of arbitration is that it enables the parties to a dispute to determine the manner in which the parties will attempt to resolve the dispute, including the rules and duration. In South Africa arbitration is particularly attractive because courts are inundated with cases. (more…)
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Love knows no borders – or does it?

Love knows no borders – or does it?

Legal
As anyone who has planned a wedding will tell you, "location" is one of the more important factors to consider.  While it is tempting to look outside of South Africa’s borders for a setting that is perfect for your special day, one might be cautioned against letting the golden sunset blind you to what’s missing in the picture: an ante-nuptial contract. (more…)
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Enough is enough: The Supreme Court comes to the aid of the vulnerable women

Enough is enough: The Supreme Court comes to the aid of the vulnerable women

Legal
On 2 October 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) handed down judgment in favour of Ms Naidoo (the appellant in the matter), holding the Minister of Police (among others) vicariously liable for the acts of certain members of the South African Police Service (SAPS). Naidoo v Minister of Police [2015] ZASCA 152 (2 October 2015) The matter arose after the appellant was assaulted by her former husband in 2010.  After receiving medical treatment, she went to lay a charge of assault at her local police station.  The officer on duty advised her that she required a protection order prior to instituting criminal charges.  After discovering that this was in fact untrue, she returned to the police station in order to lay the charge. Upon arrival, the officer in question refused…
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Eke v Parsons: On the Effect of Settlement Agreements made Orders of Court

Eke v Parsons: On the Effect of Settlement Agreements made Orders of Court

Legal
On 29 September 2015 the Constitutional Court handed down judgment in the matter of Eke v Parsons 2015 ZACC 30, which was taken on appeal from the Eastern Cape Division of the High Court. The facts in the matter were essentially as follows: Mr Eke agreed to stand as surety and co-principal debtor in respect of a sale-and-purchase agreement between the Kevin Eke Family Trust (of which Mr Eke was a trustee) and Mr Parsons for the purchase of a membership interest in a close corporation. Following default of payment of a portion of the purchase price, and subsequent letters of demand, Mr Parsons instituted legal proceedings against Mr Eke. Mr Eke entered an appearance to defend, and Mr Parsons launched an application for summary judgment. Prior to the application…
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No money to sue? Consider Contingency Fees

No money to sue? Consider Contingency Fees

Legal
If you think you have a good legal case but can’t afford to pursue it, the Contingency Fees Act may have some good news for you.  In an attempt to provide access to justice for all, it allows attorneys and advocates to enter into a “no win, no fee” agreement with you, and for you to agree on a “success fee” higher than the normal fee would be. Success fees and the Constitutional Court cases In the event of a “win”, the success fee to be charged may be up to twice the agreed upon normal fee, capped at a maximum of 25% of any monetary amount you are awarded or recover.  So if, for example, you are awarded R1m and the normal fee would amount to R100,000, you can…
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Employers:  Is your zero tolerance policy enforceable?

Employers: Is your zero tolerance policy enforceable?

Legal
A recent Labour Appeal Court (LAC) judgment demystifies the issues surrounding how far an employer can go to protect itself from employee misconduct with “zero tolerance” policies. The supermarket, the supervisor, and the undeclared deodorant A supermarket chain, attempting to curb employee theft in its store, imposed a zero tolerance policy requiring employees, on entering the store, to declare any goods (except those clearly not store property). A supermarket chain, attempting to curb employee theft in its store, imposed a zero tolerance policy requiring employees, on entering the store, to declare any goods (except those clearly not store property). Employer practice was to issue a final written warning to employees who failed to declare goods but were able to produce proof of purchase, and to dismiss those who weren’t able…
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Property Owners – Manage your risk of being sued

Property Owners – Manage your risk of being sued

Legal
What happens if someone is injured or killed, or suffers some other form of loss on your property? Three recent court cases highlight your risk of liability for any potential dangers that you don’t take reasonable steps to avoid. Case 1:  The landlord, the holiday let and the visitor who fell from the stairs “The lack of protection on the garage side of the stairs below the gate was an inherently dangerous state of affairs ….” (Extract from judgment) Letting out your holiday home to a tenant may be a lucrative option if you are holidaying elsewhere, or if you need some extra income, but consider what happened to this landlord:– The owner of a seaside holiday home, built on a steep hillside and accessed from the road via a…
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