Can Your Bank Take Your Money Without Permission?

Legal
Is your bank entitled to clean out your current account’s credit balance – with neither notice to you nor your permission – to settle a separate debt you owe it? Banks have always argued that they are allowed to do exactly that in terms of our common law principle of “set-off” – and that having that ability helps us all in the end by giving them more security when lending us money. As we discuss in more detail below, the National Credit Regulator has however approached the High Court for a determination on whether or not the National Credit Act has changed all that. A recent High Court decision in National Credit Regulator v Standard Bank of South Africa Limited (44415/16) [2019] ZAGPJHC 182 has settled the knotty question of whether your bank…
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Warning: Property Email Scams Surging

Legal
Why yet another warning about cyber-scams in the property industry? It’s because the hard fact is that the criminals are winning this war. In fact we are now reportedly the “second most targeted country in the world with regard to cyber-attacks” (Law Society of South Africa). Hence, no doubt, the Legal Practitioners Indemnity Insurance Fund report of “over 110 cybercrime related claims with a total value of R70 million” in the period July 2016 to August 2018. The scammers are using more and more sophisticated techniques to lull their victims into complacency, and your best protection is your own vigilance – forewarned is definitely forearmed! And remember that property transactions will always remain a firm favourite with online fraudsters for two simple reasons – Property sales usually involve large amounts…
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How to Stop Vital Evidence Being Destroyed

Legal
You suspect that someone you are suing (or about to sue) will destroy or hide vital evidence in their possession. Perhaps by shredding documents or deleting electronic records supporting your case, or perhaps by spiriting away computer hard drives full of incriminating information. You fear that if they get away with it your case will be dead, or at least compromised. Fortunately our law has a strong and quick remedy for you – the “Anton Piller” order, by means of which the High Court can authorise a search for, and a seizure into safekeeping of, the relevant evidence until trial. Surprise raids and fishing expeditions This is a drastic and draconian remedy.  For obvious reasons this is a “surprise raid” on the other party – giving advance notice to the…
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Unlawful Occupiers: Eviction Is Possible, but Neither Quick nor Easy

Legal
“Buy land” said Mark Twain, “they’re not making it anymore.” With the first green shoots of a property market recovery supposedly now showing through perhaps this is indeed the time to take his advice. Just be sure, if the property you have your eye on is occupied by anyone, to seek proper legal advice on the occupiers’ legal position before you put pen to paper. We all know that unlawful property occupiers enjoy substantial constitutional and statutory rights, and a recent High Court case provides a good example of the fact that whilst it is certainly possible to evict unlawful occupiers, it could well be neither quick nor easy. The family that lived rent free for two years A buyer bought an apartment from the previous owner’s liquidators and took transfer of…
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