Civil Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Although we strongly advocate that prevention of disputes is best, some disputes cannot be foreseen nor avoided (not in its entirety), despite planning ahead.

In serving all your needs, we also offer a specialist civil litigation service, which includes representation in the following:

  • Magistrates Court (claims under R200 000 (district courts) and over R 200 000 below R400 000 (regional courts)
  • High Court (claims exceeding the monetary thresholds set for Magistrate’s Court matters)
  • Supreme Court of Appeal
  • Constitutional Court

*The only exceptions to our above-mentioned offering are family law matters, more specifically, divorce matters and matters involving child maintenance, as well as all matters involving criminal law.

Alternative Dispute Resolution:

  • We also represent clients at forums of alternative dispute resolution e.g. various tribunals, commissions, mediation and arbitration.
  • In addition, we offer independent Mediation services and serve on a number of panels for mediators, including the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, Association of Arbitrators and Equillore.

Should you require a quote please complete our quote form.

* Choosing the “right fit” attorney is an important matter! We fully appreciate this and therefore offer a reasonably priced and commitment free initial consultation (R900 VAT included per initial consultation), so you can ensure you have found the “right fit” before contracting legal work! Call us today!

For more information, feel free to browse related topics below.

Suggested reading and related topics:

 

marijuana

THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT LEGALISES THE PRIVATE USE OF MARIJUANA

The Constitutional Court handed down an unanimous judgment on 18 September 2018 that now makes it legal for adults to cultivate and smoke marijuana in the comfort of their own homes. This was greeted by much jubilation inside the Court Room as well as …

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surety

Suretyship Agreements – What Are They?

  A suretyship agreement is defined as an agreement in terms of which a third party, namely the surety, undertakes liability towards a creditor for the proper performance of a portion of or the entire obligation of a debtor. A valid principal obli …

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Resignation

RESIGNATION- WHAT EMPLOYERS MUST KNOW

It has become common practice for Employees to resign with immediate effect. Employers are often relieved when Employees resign in such a manner. This is due to the fact that Employees that have resigned usually create more problems in the workplace wh …

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The Star: Assessing the merits of alternative dispute resolution

Read our feature in The Star Newspaper, published on 30 August 2018. …

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sexual harassment

#WOMENSMONTH – Part Two Series: Sexual Harassment in the work place – Guiding Principles for Employers!

In part one of this two-part article series published on 3 August 2018, readers were informed of how common it is for female Employees to fall victim to Sexual Harassment in the workplace. This is due to the fact that women are often too afraid to spea …

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mortgage debt

Courts will now decide how to handle Home Repossessions!

In April this year, former public protector Thuli Madonsela highlighted the injustice of selling properties for a fraction of their market worth, after the Pretoria High Court decided it was legal for Standard Bank to sell a R470 000 house for R40 000 …

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Wiseman Ndlovu

My experience with you guys was outstandingly awesome. You guys are proper and accurate in everything you do. …

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Pregnant Employees

Automatic Unfair Dismissals- Pregnancy and Employment

We are celebrating Women’s month in August. As such it is always good to reflect on how far we have come as a nation since thousands of brave women marched to the Union Buildings on the 9th of August 1956. But the question remains – how far have we rea …

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Employer unilaterally change retirement age

Retirement- Can your Employer unilaterally change your retirement age?

“When they finally let me retire I want to be a full-time artist”. Nelson Mandela said after agreeing to paint for charity in 2001. Most South Africans believe that they will retire upon reaching the age of 65. They plan and structure their estates acc …

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Digital Contracting and Debt Collection

The Digital Age – Contracting and Debt Collection

The concept that digital contracts are negotiated and concluded over multiple platforms across the globe has moved from a futuristic idea to reality. The use of Conference calling, Skype, email, fax, Dropbox, Facebook, WhatsApp, SMS and printable webpa …

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Collection of tuition fees

Collection of Tuition Fees by Declaration of Immovable Property Executable- Difference between Public and Independent Schools

In celebration of Nelson Mandela Day on 18 July 2018, SchoemanLaw Inc. will be reviewing the effect that Nelson Mandela has had on South African Law. Nelson Mandela signed the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 108 of 1996 into Law on 10 Dec …

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tax compliance status

Debt Reviews: How can a Consumer Terminate Proceedings?

In South Africa, more and more Consumers are over indebted and make application to a Court of Law to be placed under Debt Review. A Consumer’s financial position might not always remain the same and may improve to such an extent, that making payments i …

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suspensions

Suspensions in the workplace – how and when must the Employer suspend Employees

It can be quite daunting for an Employer to suspend an Employee. Many Employers have not followed any procedures when suspending their Employees. The Employer would later regret not seeking any advice as to the correct manner to suspend Employees espec …

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Labour Relations Act

Strikes and Lock-Outs: The Rights of Employees and Employers

The Labour Relations Act 66 of 1997 as amended (hereinafter referred as to the “LRA”), regulates the law relating to strikes and lock-outs. The LRA provides and outlines the rights and protection provided to Employees who decide to embark on strike act …

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non-variation clause

The Shifren Principle – The Importance of Reducing Oral Agreements to Writing When a Contract Contains a Non-Variation Clause

Today, almost all Commercial Contracts entered into include non-variation clauses. A non-variation clause is a contractual provision which restricts the variation and/or cancellation of an Agreement. Any variation or cancellation of the Agreement will …

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eviction

The Application of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act 19 of 1998 to defaulting mortgagors and property sold at sale in execution

The purpose of the Prevention of Illegal Eviction and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act No. 19 of 1998 (hereinafter referred to as “PIE”) is to regulate the eviction process in respect of unlawful occupiers. PIE introduces procedures for the eviction of …

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mortgage debt

When may a Debt Collector legally recover money? Know your rights as a Debtor!

Today, more and more South Africans are over indebted, or have at one stage of their lives been over indebted and had to deal with the unpleasantness of threats and demands received from Debt Collectors. It also is becoming quite common for Debtors to …

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sectional title

Sectional title scheme – how do owners institute legal proceedings?

Ownership of a Section Title is made up of three elements; namely individual ownership, joint ownership and membership of a body corporate.  Individual ownership is the section you purchased whereas joint ownership is the part know as common property. …

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disciplinary hearings

Disciplinary hearings- the correct way to dismiss misbehaving Employees

Many Employers struggle when it comes to dismissing misbehaving Employees. Some Employers do not discipline misbehaving Employees for years. Then suddenly one day when they (the Employer) have had enough of the misbehaving Employee’s behaviour (and all …

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Suretyship

Does a Principal Obligation need to exist prior to the conclusion of a valid Suretyship

When a Credit Loan Agreement is entered into between a Creditor and Debtor, a Surety Agreement is often concluded. A Surety Agreement involves three parties being the Creditor, the Principal Debtor and the Surety. The Surety is an individual that under …

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Rent interdict

The powers of a Sheriff to conduct an inventory in terms of a Rent Interdict when the Judgement Debtor is not present, and the premises are locked

A Landlord, who struggles to obtain rental payments from his Tenants, may demand, in writing to his Tenants, the amount of rental payment that is in arrears. Should the Landlord be unsuccessful and a period of 7 (seven) days or longer has lapsed, the L …

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Prescribed Debt

Reviving Prescribed Debts

In terms of the Prescription Act 68 of 1969 most debts prescribe within three years. It seems obvious that once a matter has prescribed, that is where it ends. The problem starts where the Debtor has no idea the debt has prescribed and continues to mak …

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judgment

The execution process and the effect that judgment may have on a debtor’s moveable and/or immovable property

Once a judgment has been obtained against a Debtor through action proceedings, the Debtor is obliged to settle the judgment debt or make an arrangement with the Creditor to pay off the said debt. If a Debtor does not settle the judgment or approach the …

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Debt Review

Termination of a debt review application/order

The National Credit Act No 34 of 2005, as amended, (hereinafter referred to as “the Act”) makes provision for debt review.  Debt review is a debt rehabilitation program in which the restructuring of a consumer’s debt is made and implemented as a repaym …

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AOD

Enforcement of claims based on acknowledgments of debt in the Magistrate’s Court v the High Court

A debtor and creditor enter into an Acknowledgement of Debt (AOD) where the debtor acknowledges that he or she owes a particular sum of money to the creditor and undertakes to repay what is owing on terms agreed between the parties. This agreement is u …

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Amended Alternative Dispute Resolution Regulations in the Electronic and Transactions Act

The Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services has, with effect from earlier this month, on 10 November 2017, officially amended the regulations in respect of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in the Electronic Communications and Transaction …

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mediation

Court Annexed Mediation

South Africa is seeking a more cost and time effective resolution in resolving disputes. Society has become prone to institute legal action, or threaten to institute legal action, against another individual, without knowing the extent of law applicable …

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nominated and selected subcontractors

Consumer protection in respect of construction contracts

The Consumer Protection Act No. 68 of 2008 (the “CPA”) has been in effect since 2011, however, long before this Act, there have been other legislation around to protect consumers in the building and property law industry. One of these pieces of legisla …

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res judicata

The Star: Assessing the merits of alternative dispute resolution

Read our feature in The Star Newspaper, published on 11 August 2017. …

Read full story

Corporate commercial law : Can the data come back to bite me? If so – how hard?

Due to technological advances, paper based transactions are on the decline in corporate commercial law. Communication and agreements reached are more often recorded on email.  What is more, many documents are not only created digitally, but are signed …

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Can an acknowledgment of indebtedness made without prejudice be admitted as evidence in trial proceedings?

General legal practice prescribes that when an admission is made within a letter, with the result of both parties reaching a mutual agreement, such admission may be made without prejudice. The inferred understanding is that such an admission would not …

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Further clarity on the role of the Community Schemes Ombud Service

The Community Schemes Ombud Service (“CSOS”) has been in operation since October 2016, and has since then been accepting disputes regarding sectional title schemes. The public however has not had the opportunity to gain its confidence in the CSOC compl …

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res judicata

The impact of Res Judicata in litigation proceedings

The litigation procedure has often been found to be a strenuous one, more so when an individual attempts to clear his/her name or is being charged with the same crime or is a defendant in a matter with the same issue. Most individuals will then ask the …

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Property owners

Municipality’s rates policy in respect of future rates

In the recent ruling of Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality v Amber Mountain Investments, the Supreme Court of Appeal (“SCA”) addressed the question of whether the seller of immovable property could be held liable for the advance payment of the full annual …

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Contractor Dispute Resolution in terms of the Building Contract

Building disputes happen fairly often and, in many cases, when not settled, end up before an arbitrator due to the provisions of the type of building contract entered into. Sometimes, even before a court of law. The main reason behind this seems to be …

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Lease agreements and the limitations of the moratorium on obligations in business rescue proceedings

The Companies Act 71 of 2008 (“the Act”), as amended, introduced a new process in the stead of its predecessor, known as judicial management. It is a fairly new addition to our law and therefore still largely misunderstood, as a result, the courts play …

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eviction

Evicting the Unlawful Occupier

Residential evictions in South Africa are governed by the Prevention of Illegal Eviction from and Unlawful Occupation of Land Act No. 19 of 1998 (“PIE”). This legislation was enacted to regulate both the lawful eviction of unlawful occupiers, and the r …

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Electronically generated evidence used in commercial litigation

When documents or evidence in an electronic format is used as evidence in commercial litigation, it is crucial to ascertain whether the document is authentic, i.e. an unaltered original version of the electronic document or data message. The aforesaid …

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Sectional Title schemes: How the management has changed

The new Sectional Title Schemes Management Act No. 8 of 2011 (the “STSMA”) came into operation on 7 October 2016. This Act, in essence, has taken all the management, governance and rules as provided in the Sectional Titles Act No. 95 of 1986, as amende …

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In Duplum Rule

A recap of the In Duplum Rule

For many years the in duplum rule was a trite principle of our law, until the Western High Court decision in Paulsen & Another vs Slip Knot Investments 777 (Pty) Ltd 2014 (4) SA 253 (SCA) (“The Paulsen decision”) created some confusion. This rule i …

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Historic Debts – Section 118 (3) of the Municipal Systems Act

In the recent ruling of New Ventures Consulting and Services Livanos and Others vs The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality and Others, the Court again considered the practice of municipalities holding new owners of properties liable for old munic …

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Understanding Civil Litigation in South Africa

Civil litigation is the process of referring an issue, dispute, or any other commercial matter to a court in order for a judge or magistrate to make a determination. Whether you are the plaintiff, defendant, applicant or respondent, it is important to …

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Your right of recourse for defamation of character

Defamation of character claims can be tricky,  as our Courts always try to preserve freedom of expression as enshrined in Section 16 of our Constitution.  But at the same time, the right to freedom of expression can also be limited and may not encroach …

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In Duplum Rule

South African Lawyers against amendment of Debt Collectors Bill

Introduction In a recent publication in the De Rebus, the Law Society of South Africa (“LSSA”) expressed its discontent with the proposed Debt Collectors Amendment Bill during submissions made to the Department of Justice. Thus far Justice Minister Mic …

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Know your rights with regards to your credit record and the credit bureau

Consumers on a daily basis find that their hands are tied when dealing with the credit bureau and the information contained on their credit record. For many people this only becomes a reality or to their knowledge when they apply for credit. Since the …

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Looming changes to debt collection processes – employers take note

The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development released a statement saying that it is in the process of finalising the Magistrates’ Courts Amendment Bill. The amendments aim to curtail the abuse of the debt collection system.   This come …

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Commercial Mediation – Nothing more than a fishing expedition?

Mediation as a process is very different from other alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and the litigious process. In terms of the court annexed mediation rules it is defined as:   “[T]he process by which a mediator assists the parties in actual …

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The do’s and don’ts when you receive a summons

In the South African legal system a summons is the first document in the litigation process, i.e. court process. The person instituting the claim is called the Plaintiff and the person against whom the claim is being instituted is the Defendant. The Pl …

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To mediate or not to mediate, that is the question

In terms of the amendment made to the Magistrates Courts Rules in March 2014, scope now exists for the use and application of mediation as a dispute resolution mechanism during the litigation process. Generally speaking, invoking negotiation and / or m …

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New Magistrates Court Rules: Does a summons still lapse? How does this influence prescription?

On 15 October 2010 the Rules Regulating the Conduct of the Proceedings of the Magistrate’s Courts of South Africa (generally referred to as the magistrates’ courts rules and referred to here as the ‘new rules’) came into effect. The new rules repealed …

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What every debtor and creditor should know about letters of demand in terms of the National Credit Act

The main aim of the new National Credit Act (NCA) is to prevent over-indebtedness and to provide more accessible structures for dispute resolution. One way that the NCA aims to achieve this, is by creating a more transparent platform, which bodes well …

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Rescission of judgement applications in the High and Magistrate’s courts

According to the IOL website, “46.5 percent of credit-active consumers – 8.61 million people – have apparently notbeen making their payments as they should.” This often results in judgements granted by a court and in many cases debtors neglect to defen …

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Jurisdiction of the Magistrate’s courts in terms of the Jurisdiction of Regional Courts Amendment Act 31 of 2008 (the “Act”)

The commencement of this Act has now largely aligned the rules of the Magistrate’s court with that of the High Court. For example, the addition of the application for irregular proceedings. Moreover, in the past, the Magistrate’s court could only hear …

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Jurisdiction of the courts in South Africa

Jurisdiction of a court is generally founded on either, the person (defendant) or cause of action. Certain types of courts, e.g. Magistrates Courts and Small Claims Courts, are “creatures of statute” and thus, may only entertain matters which the enabl …

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The implications of debt review, administration orders and insolvency on the debtor’s status and contractual capacity

Although, it is always strongly recommended that personal finances are managed in such a way that consumers never find themselves in a position where they have to consult with a professional, these unfavourable situations often arise, whether due to th …

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Warrants of execution against immovable property – when and how are these issued?

Even though immovable property can be acquired by cash sale, most people acquire it by means of applying for a mortgage bond (loan) from a bank (or financial Institution). For many people this is the most valuable asset they own, which as a result (whe …

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Blacklisting and rescissions of judgement

Many debtors do not defend the actions instituted against them (summons), which results in the court granting default judgement and ultimately, that he or she is blacklisted. Blacklisting adversely affects the debtors ability to transact in many respec …

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The application of the common law rule of suspension of the operation of an order of the court a quo, when making application for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court

In terms of the common law an application for leave to appeal suspends the order against which leave to appeal is sought, but does this rule apply to applications for leave to appeal to the Constitutional Court as well?   <read more>There ar …

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