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Class actions have the potential to be abused by plaintiffs, for example where a large number of claims are brought for trifling amounts and there is no public policy issue. Whether a class action for a small recovery can be pursued will be decided at the certification stage of proceedings, but by then large amounts of time and resources will have been lost. A possible way to limit the abuse of class actions is to…
Court records are public documents. Members of the public now have access to most court documents before the matter has been called in open court. Some documents, such as those involving the interests of children, state security or commercial confidentiality, could be kept quiet but a departure from the general rule is an exception and must be justified. The Supreme Court of Appeal in City of Cape Town v SANRAL held that it is fundamental…
A contract specifying that interest must be “calculated daily” does not mean compounded daily or capitalised daily. Simple interest therefore applies. In Euro Blitz 21 (Pty) Ltd and Another v Secena Aircraft Investments CC the appeal court found that the words “calculated daily” in a written lease agreement and consequent court order did not mean that interest was to be compounded daily. If compound interest is not expressly provided for in a written agreement, simple…
So as not to discourage the public from challenging unconstitutional acts of government, even an unsuccessful litigant may not have to pay the government’s costs. The general rule in constitutional litigation between a private party and the state is that if the private party is successful, its costs should be paid by the state, but if unsuccessful, each party should pay its own costs. If a court departs from the general rule, it should provide…
The global banking industry has seen an increasing number of class actions being brought against it. In August 2014 an application for class action certification was launched against a number of Australian banks in New South Wales. The class potentially consists of hundreds of thousands of bank customers who were allegedly charged excessive credit card fees for late payments. Every customer of the named banks who was over-charged would automatically form part of the class…
A credit provider is entitled to enforce a loan that is subject to a debt-restructuring order without notice to the debtor once that order has been breached. This was confirmed by the Constitutional Court in Ferris v FirstRand Bank Limited.  Mr and Mrs Ferris were unable to repay their home loan to FirstRand Bank Limited, applied for debt review and received a debt-restructuring order.  They fell behind on their payments and breached the debt-restructuring…