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<< June 2008  | July 2008 |  August 2008 >>
We are in such a period of transition now, that I often don’t want to write my opinions.  I have strong opinions on a number of issues that readers of this blog probably don’t want to know about – such as the JSE overall index, which I think is too high.  Politics, both in the legal profession and in the real world, trouble me most at the moment.  On Friday during our Law Society meeting, the Black Lawyers Association walked out as the Council voted not to accept the nomination of a candidate of theirs based on disciplinary record and the opinion of those who did vote that she was not a suitable candidate for the Council.  NADEL subsequently left the meeting also – although advising before they did so, that they did not do so in sympathy with the BLA, but rather on the principle that they did not think the Council could function properly without one of its members. 

Zimbabwe completely depresses me.  I honestly think the opposition should have taken part in the election and at least questioned its credibility than now simply hand a victory to Mugabe.  I think Mugabe will emerge stronger than he was after losing the March election.  Yes, discredited, despised and rightly so, but I still think the MDC have put him in a stronger position than he was previously.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 02-Jul-08   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Challenge to the R25 000 limit
I am pleased to advise you all that Marius Kruger, the attorney in Cape Town who did us all such a favour with his challenge on President Mbeki’s implementation and then retraction of the wrong sections of the Road Accident Fund Act, is at it again.  Perhaps not so exciting for myself and my counsel, is a situation where we had already decided to bring a Constitutional Court challenge ourselves, and had pleaded same accordingly in a limited passenger case where the defendant attorneys unfortunately don’t seem to have responded at this time or reacted to our pleadings.  Presumably they have not taken the point as yet which is going to slow us down somewhat.  The bottom line is that the previous judgment on limited passenger cases, as we have reported in a newsletter before, was given when attorneys Raphael and David Smith brought a brave challenge but sought, in essence, to have a limited damages case that arose pre the 1994 Constitution, considered in terms of the 1994 Constitution, which ultimately the court declined to do so.  They may of course give the same reasoning in a challenge that is brought now, but it seems far too many attorneys have simply accepted the fact that the limitation of passenger cases have been held to be constitutional without reading the actual reasons therefor and the case that was brought before the Constitutional Court was perhaps not the appropriate one.  In any event, I will keep you advised on this challenge, as it is one that I certainly have a great interest in and may possibly intervene as well.  

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 07-Jul-08   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
Direct payments to begin 1 August 2008

After denying, in writing, as recently as 18 July (Friday) that the RAF had any knowledge as to when the Department of Transport would implement direct payments, the Road Accident Fund today advertised in The Star newspaper that these would begin on 1 August 2008.  More info for subscribers to my newsletter in the newsletter.


Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 21-Jul-08   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
LSSA interdict application served
An edited press release just received from the Law Society of SA:

The Law Society of South Africa – constituted by the statutory provincial law societies (the Cape Law Society, the KwaZulu-Natal Law Society, the Law Society of the Free State, the Law Society of the Northern Provinces), the Black Lawyers Association and the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, and representing more than 18 000 attorneys countrywide – has today instituted an urgent application to set aside as unlawful a decision announced on one week’s notice by the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

The decision is aimed at eliminating the current system of paying compensation awards for road accident victims to their authorised attorneys.

Overwhelmingly road accident victims in South Africa are poor people, often seriously disabled by their injuries, and unable themselves to institute their claims, prove the liability of the RAF, and prove the extent of their losses. Attorneys up to now have acted for them on the basis that they will have to pay from their own pockets substantial costs needed to mount the claims, and to run the risk of the claims failing.

Currently sums owing to claimants by way of compensation and costs are paid into the trust accounts of attorneys with powers of attorney signed by their client directing the RAF to do so.  From those payments attorneys – who are under the supervision of their law societies and who are backed by the Attorneys Fidelity Fund – deduct what they have already advanced in payment of medical, actuarial and other experts and counsel. 

The decision is not one which has been made by the Minister of Transport and implemented by regulations made under the Road Accident Fund Act.  Instead the decision has been made by the RAF itself, and announced in a newspaper advertisement. Moreover, it appears that the decision was taken as long ago as 30 October 2007, and kept secret until the public announcement on 21 July 2008. The consequence has been to make it impossible for the decision to be challenged in court prior to the date it purports to take effect.

The RAF has been called upon to undertake to defer implementation of its decision pending a review by the courts.The urgent application has been set down for hearing in the Cape High Court on Friday 8 August 2008.

The founding affidavit of Raj Daya can be found for now here.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 29-Jul-08   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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