This field of law is simple when taken at face value as South African systems of law generally allow for the freedom of parties to enter into any contract on any terms and conditions as they see fit. However, this branch of law is deceptively complex as it is regulated by the common law as well as various legislation that was passed by Parliament over the past decades, aimed at curtailing dishonest business practices and the protection of contracting parties. In other words, contracting parties do not have complete freedom when it comes to the contents of agreements as there are many types of agreements and clauses that will not be enforceable if it is inconsistent with existing legislation or against the public interest. It is important to us that clients are able to enter into valid contracts that are enforceable by law and that they are able to protect themselves against practices that can defraud them or unduly put them in a disadvantageous position.
We offer a wide spectrum of legal assistance to clients for the following matters but not limited thereto:
· Litigation arising from the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008. The Consumer Protection Act elaborates on certain rights and responsibilities that are provided for in the common law, such as the responsibility of parties to be fair and honest in their dealings and the obligation to avoid misrepresentations when entering into agreements. The act further makes provision for special rights that are available to consumers, such as procedures and time periods for the refund to the consumer for the selling of deficient goods or services rendered by a supplier. These procedures and time periods confer complex rights and obligations on consumers and other contracting parties and can often give rise to disputes. We can offer clients assistance with the entire litigation process, commencing with the services of a summons up until the settlement or finalization of the matter, excluding prior mediation of the matter. Clients often find themselves strangled in a cobweb of procedures different forums when it comes to enforcing the provisions of the Act. We are desirous to navigate our clients through this process to ensure that their rights are protected.
· The drafting of various types of contracts and the adjudication of disputes relating thereto in any appropriate forum, including the Magistrate’s Court and High Court. These matters include, but is not limited to matters relating to the buying and selling of goods, contracts for services rendered, lease of movable and immovable property etc.
· Evictions. Although applications for the eviction of tenants and other persons that are unlawfully making use of your immovable property usually relate to disputes regarding contracts that have been entered into by a lessor of immovable property and a lessee, it is nevertheless regulated by specific legislation and it is thus important for persons not to take matters into their own hands. It is also a field of law that requires the services of expert attorneys due to the fact that clients will often find themselves faced with difficult legal dilemmas. For instance, if a lessor wishes to evict a tenant that is constantly in arrears with rental and the tenant makes a payment which the lessor then accepts, it will be implied that the lessor has consented to the continuation of the contractual relationship, which would hinder the success of an eviction application. It is therefore important to approach an attorney for the drafting of a proper letter of demand that stipulates that the payment will be accepted only as damages, not as payment for rent, and that the lessor is cancelling the agreement. As illustrated in this example, failure by the lessor to take the correct course of action in this instance will have the result that he or she is forced to abide with the troublesome tenant under their roof. It is also important for clients to know the difference between trespassing and the illegal occupation of immovable property, as there are different procedures and time periods applicable to both cases. We can assist clients with all of these aspects.