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LAW LETTER LAW LETTER Supplement Powered By Docstoc
  March 2008
services directory
Chairman                  Estates Administration   Litigation & Alternative
Matthew Francis           Hannah Szudrawski        Dispute Resolution
                          Joanne Payne             Anthony Grant
Chief Executive Officer   John Wallace             Deon Schaup
Deon Schaup               Theresa Killick          Gerry Meyer
                                                   Gill Curr
Agency Conveyancing       Environmental            Nagesh Maharaj
Leanne Holder             Matthew Francis          Pat Dewes
Redvers Lee                                        Robert Stuart-Hill
                          Family                   Yuri Maharaj
Banking Law &             Deon Schaup
Foreclosures              Gerry Meyer              Mass Housing
Maatla Hlapolosa          Gill Curr                Nosipo Mgojo
Pat Dewes                 Pat Dewes
Robert Stuart-Hill                                 Medical
                          Farm Sales &             Deon Schaup
Constitutional            Agricultural             Pat Dewes
Matthew Francis           Simon Francis
Pat Dewes                                          Mortgage Loans &
Tim Brown                 Immigration              Investments
                          Maatla Hlapolosa         John Wallace
Conveyancing &            Matthew Francis          Simon Francis
Sectional Title
Lindy le Roux             Information Technology   Personal Injuries
Nosipo Mgojo              John Wallace             Deon Schaup
Redvers Lee               Tim Brown                Nagesh Maharaj

Corporate &               Insolvency               Property Development
Commercial                Anthony Grant            & Town Planning
John Wallace              Leith Cawcutt            Guy Smith
Matthew Francis           Pat Dewes                Matthew Francis
Simon Francis             Rob Stuart-Hill          Tim Brown
Tim Brown
                          Insurance                Public & Local
Criminal                  Deon Schaup              Government
Deon Schaup               Gill Curr                Matthew Francis
Yuri Maharaj              Nagesh Maharaj           Robbyn Richards
                          Pat Dewes                Tim Brown
Debt Recoveries           Yuri Maharaj
Anthony Grant                                      Tax Planning
Garnet Venn               Labour Law and           Hannah Szudrawski
Hellen Dolphin            Industrial Relations     John Wallace
Jeanne Smith              Matthew Francis          Simon Francis
Leith Cawcutt             Tim Brown
Louise David                                       Trusts & Wills
Maureen Krog              Liquor Law               Hannah Szudrawski
Naas le Roux              Tim Brown                John Wallace
                                                   Simon Francis
       read all about it
When Mrs Difford heard that the Sunday
Times intended publishing news of a
scandal that had came to light during her                                 by Gillian Curr
divorce proceedings, she sought an urgent                                  Litigation Division
interim interdict against the newspaper.

It was a scene that the scriptwriters of
Desperate Housewives are already
considering adapting for the popular TV
show: it seemed that when Mrs Difford had      an unconstitutional limitation on the right to
assured her ex-husband that he was the         freedom of expression. The section placed
biological father of their son this had not    an absolute ban on the publication of
been entirely truthful. As a result, the       matters arising from divorce proceedings,
unsuspecting ex-husband dutifully provided     when the courts are in fact open to the
for his supposed offspring from 1976 to        public. The effect was that matters
2001 before discovering that he had been       potentially of public interest were prevented
misled.                                        from being published.

Mrs Difford asked the court to stop the        The judge noted that the removal of the
Sunday Times from publishing the story on      absolute protection provided by section 12
the basis of section 12 of the Divorce Act,    would not result in injustice to the parties to
which prohibits the publication of             divorce proceedings. The court still had the
information other than the names of the        discretion to prevent the publication of
parties to a divorce. Mrs Difford got her      material that may infringe the private life of
interim order, but the Sunday Times            the parties. In doing so, the court would
opposed the confirmation of the order and      weigh up the competing interests of the right
asked the court to declare section 12 of the   to freedom of expression and that of privacy
Divorce Act to be unconstitutional and         in arriving at a just and fair decision. In this
invalid.                                       case, the court found that the right to privacy
                                               was outweighed by the newsworthiness of
The court found that section 12 was in fact    the country's first paternity fraud suit.

         A little inaccuracy sometimes saves tons of explanation.
ever at my back
             I hear...
Dr van der Merwe, an anaesthetist,
participated in an operation on a car
accident victim. The operation arose from                               by Nagesh Maharaj
                                                                            Litigation Division
injuries sustained in a car accident that took
place four years previously. Dr van der
Merwe promptly submitted his claim for
anaesthetic services to the Road Accident        The Supreme Court of Appeal gave the
Fund.                                            Road Accident Fund something of a wake
                                                 up call. The court found that Dr van der
The Fund failed to respond to Dr van der         Merwe was entitled to claim directly from the
Merwe's claim, despite many queries. While       Fund for payment for services rendered and
the doctor might have specialized in putting     the doctor's claim was accessory to the
patients to sleep, he did not appreciate the     victim's claim. Dr van der Merwe's claim had
Fund's somnolent attitude and he issued          not prescribed because the accident victim
summons against the Fund.                        had submitted his claim to the Road
                                                 Accident Fund in time and, in fact, the victim
In court the Road Accident Fund argued that      qualified for assistance from the Fund.
Dr van der Merwe's claim had prescribed
because it was submitted more than three
years after the accident. The Pretoria High
Court agreed with the Fund and dismissed
Dr van der Merwe's claim. The doctor
appealed against the High Court's decision.

       Arriving at Dublin Castle for the handover by British forces
  on 16 January 1922, and being told that he was seven minutes late:
    We've been waiting 700 years, you can have the seven minutes.
                             Michael Collins
a new litigator
We are delighted to announce that Pat
Dewes, a well-known and respected
Pietermaritzburg attorney, will be joining
Venn Nemeth and Hart as a director from
1 March 2008.
                                                Pat began his            by Pat Dewes
                                                                         Litigation Director
Pat is a seasoned litigator, with significant   career in the office
experience in all fields of civil litigation,   of the Master of the
including commercial disputes and               Supreme Court, which is entrusted with the
matrimonial law. Pat acts for a number of       oversight of deceased estates and trusts. He
financial and other institutions, and has       became a partner of FH Lowe and Company
represented clients in the constitutional       in 1984 and was subsequently partner and
court.                                          chairman of Austen Smith Attorneys.

       of 2006 and more
Our 2005 intake of candidate attorneys Liza     observe the proceedings and the event is a
Bagley, Tasveera Ramkaran and Andrew            significant culmination of two years' hard
Thornton-Dibb - having learnt volumes about     work.
the practice of law, recently graduated as
attorneys. The process involves an              We are especially pleased to mention that
application to the High Court and a solemn      two candidates, Liza Bagley and Tasveera
appearance before a panel of judges.            Ramkaran, qualified for the coveted "triple
Successful applicants are admitted as           admission". A triple admission is an
attorneys and their names entered into the      admission as an attorney, conveyancer and
                                                notary. Each admission requires the
roll of attorneys. Family and friends often

    Someone once said, Rumbold, that education is what is left when you
     have forgotten all you have ever learned. You appear to be trying to
    circumvent the process by learning as little as possible. Alan Bennett
successful completion of separate                     Gill Curr, an attorney in our Litigation
examinations.                                         Division, has also been admitted as a
                                                      conveyancer. Gill joined Venn Nemeth and
Conveyancers are qualified to transfer and            Hart in 2005 as a candidate attorney and
bond immovable property and to attend to              was admitted as an attorney in February
other transactions in the Deeds Office. A             2007.
notary occupies a particularly responsible
position and is authorised, amongst other             A knowledge of conveyancing is useful in
things, to execute antenuptial contracts.             many areas of law, from the sale of
                                                      commercial properties to litigation relating to
Tasveera and Liza will be joining our                 immovable property. Gill will remain in our
Property Division, while Andrew Thornton-             Litigation Division and her new skills will be
Dibb plans to practice abroad.                        useful in contentious property matters.

                  Tasveera Ramkaran, Andrew Thornton-Dibb, Gillian Curr and Liza Bagley

                   281 Pietermaritz Street • PO Box 600, Pietermaritzburg, 3200
                              Tel: 033 355 3100 • Fax: 033 394 1947

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