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Category: Company Law

WHO IS LIABLE AFTER A SPORTS INJURY?

WHO IS LIABLE AFTER A SPORTS INJURY?

Contact sports often lead to the players being seriously injured. Can anyone be held liable for these injuries? or are the players taking an inherent risk when participating in these sports? Case law has established some important principles when dealing with this issue.

Is participation in dangerous sport consent?

The issue was considered in the 2012 Supreme Court of Appeal-case, Roux v Hattingh. In this case the appellant seriously injured the respondent while performing an illegal and dangerous scrumming manoeuvre, referred to as a jack-knife.

Appeal Court Judge Plasket ruled in favour of the respondent. It was held that the Appellant purposefully injured the Respondent and his actions were found to be wrongful. The legal principle of Volenti Non Fit Iniuria, or the consent to potential damage, would be sufficient to protect a person that injures another in a sporting match, but only in the usual and reasonable course of the specific game.

First, the “jack-knife” manoeuvre executed by Alex was in contravention of the rules of the game. It was also contrary to the spirit and conventions of the game. Secondly, because it had a code name, the manoeuvre must have been pre-planned and it was consequently also executed deliberately. Thirdly, while one of its objects may have been to gain an advantage in the scrum, and another may have been to intimidate the opposition, particularly Ryan, it was also extremely dangerous.[1]

Plasket AJ further states:

“Because this conduct amounted to such a serious violation of the rules; it is not normally associated with the game of rugby and is extremely dangerous. It would not have constituted conduct which rugby players would accept as part and parcel of the normal risks.”[2]

It is clear from the AJ Plasket’s judgment that the main issue to be considered when evaluating whether a person should be held liable for an injury caused in a contact sport, should be whether the conduct should be considered normal for the specific game being played.

Appeal Judge Brand, in a concurring judgment expanded the issue, saying:

“I believe that conduct which constitutes a flagrant contravention of the rules of rugby and which is aimed at causing serious injury or which is accompanied by full awareness that serious injury may ensue, will be regarded as wrongful and hence attract legal liability for the resulting harm”.[3]

Breaking the rules of the game

It is stated that when an action is of such a nature that it is a blatant breach of the laws of a game, the player reconciles himself with the contravention of such law and the possible consequences, and the player should be held liable. It is important that the meaning behind this passage is not that any injury that occurs as a result of a broken rule of the game, should be punished by law, but only in cases where the infringement is serious and obvious enough to warrant such action.

This would place an overly onerous burden on a person to not contravene any rule of the game to avoid punishment. Imagine a rugby player being held delictually liable for injuring an opposing player when going of his feet in a ruck, a common mistake in rugby that should not lead to legal liability. The reasoning behind the judgment in the Roux-case is simply that where a player deliberately and flagrantly breaks a rule of the game and knows that such contravention will or might cause serious injury to an opposing player, he/she can be held delictually liable.

There is no need to alter the way in which you play a game because of the fear of legal consequences. However, be aware that malicious actions on the field of play, may lead to serious repercussions.

References:Labuschagne JMT “Straf- en Delikregtelike Aanspreeklikheid vir Sportbeserings” Stell LR 1998 1 72

Roux v Hattingh 2012 (6) SA 428 (SCA)

[1] Roux v Hattingh 2012 (6) SA 428 (SCA) at Par27

[2] Roux v Hattingh 2012 (6) SA 428 (SCA) at Par28

[3] Labuschagne JMT “Straf- en Delikregtelike Aanspreeklikheid vir Sportbeserings” Stell LR 1998 1 72 78

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

REQUIREMENTS TO RESTORE A DEREGISTERED COMPANY

REQUIREMENTS TO RESTORE A DEREGISTERED COMPANY

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There are various circumstances in which a company (or close corporation) can become deregistered at the CIPC.

-The company itself can apply for deregistration at the CIPC, for any number of reasons.

-If a company has not submitted and paid its annual returns for more than two successive years, the CIPC will inform such a company of the fact and the intention of the CIPC to deregister said company. If such a company does not take any steps to remedy the situation, the CIPC will proceed to finally deregister it.

-If the CIPC believes that the company has been inactive for seven or more years.

How can a company be restored?

It is possible to restore such a company or close corporation which has been finally deregistered, but all outstanding information and annual returns (including the fees) will have to be lodged with the CIPC. An additional R200 prescribed re-instatement fee must also be paid.

Recently, the CIPC has set additional requirements to do this, which also impacts on the time, administration and cost to restore such a company. These requirements took effect from 1 November 2012.

The steps and requirements for the re-instatement process are:

  1. The proper application CoR40.5 form Application for Re-instatement of Deregistered Company must be completed and submitted, originally signed by the duly authorised person.
  2. A certified copy of the identity document of the applicant (director / member) must be submitted.
  3. A certified copy of the identity document of the person filing the application must be submitted.
  4. A Deed Search, reflecting the ownership of any immovable property (or not) by the company, must be obtained and submitted together with the application.
  5. If the company does in fact own any immovable property, a letter from National Treasury must be submitted, indicating that the department has no objection to the re-instatement of the company.
  6. Also, if the company does in fact own any immovable property, a letter from the Department of Public Works must be submitted, indicating that the department has no objection to the re-instatement of the company.
  7. An advertisement must be placed in a local newspaper where the business of the company is conducted, giving 21 days’ notice of the proposed application for re-instatement.
  8. If the deregistration was due to non-compliance with regards to annual returns, an affidavit indicating the reasons for the non-filing of annual returns must be submitted.
  9. If the company itself applied for deregistration, an affidavit indicating the reasons for the original request for deregistration must be submitted.
  10. Sufficient documentary proof indicating that the company was in business or that it had any assets or liabilities at the time of deregistration must be submitted.
  11. All outstanding annual returns must be submitted and paid, along with any penalties.

Upon compliance of all of the above requirements, the CIPC will issue a notice to the company that it is restored.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

IS ‘N HANDELSBEPERKINGSKLOUSULE ALTYD GELDIG EN AFDWINGBAAR?

IS ‘N HANDELSBEPERKINGSKLOUSULE ALTYD GELDIG EN AFDWINGBAAR?

MHI_A2blIn die verlede was handelsbeperkingsooreenkomste ongeldig en onafdwingbaar, tensy die werkgewer kon bewys dat die ooreenkoms billik is. Gelukkig vir werkgewers het hierdie situasie verander. 

Wat is ‘n handelsbeperking?

‘n Ooreenkoms wat ‘n party se reg om te handel of ‘n besigheid of beroep te bedryf, beperk op sodanige manier of met sodanige partye as wat hy/sy goeddink, is ‘n handelsbeperking.

‘n Werkgewer sal tipies in die dienskontrak of ‘n aparte ooreenkoms ‘n handelsbeperkingsklousule insluit wat gewoonlik van krag word wanneer die kontrak getermineer of die besigheid of praktyk verkoop word. 

Hoekom is hierdie tipe klousule omstrede?

Dit is omstrede omdat daar ‘n botsing van fundamentele waardes is: aan die een kant is daar ‘n algemene kontrakteursvryheid wat daarop staatmaak dat partye by hul kontrakte gehou moet word, en aan die ander kant is daar handelsvryheid wat ‘n erkende reg volgens die grondwet is.

Soos ander ooreenkomste is handelsbeperkings prima facie geldig en afdwingbaar. Voorheen het die werkgewer die bewyslas gehad om te bewys dat die implementering van die handelsbeperkingsklousule billik en in openbare belang is. Die situasie is nou omgekeerd en die werknemer het nou die bewyslas om te bewys dat afdwinging van die beperking teen openbare belang sal indruis.

‘n Onredelike beperking sal teen die openbare belang wees en dus onafdwingbaar. Die redelikheid van ‘n handelsbeperkingsklousule word beoordeel op die basis van breë belange van die gemeenskap en die belange van die individu self.

Redelikheid inter partes hang van verskeie faktore af:

  • Het die werkgewer ‘n beskermingswaardige belang?
  • Geografiese omvang en tydperk van die handelsbeperking (moontlikheid van gedeeltelike afdwinging)
  • Toegewing deur die werknemer in die kontrak dat die beperking redelik is, en ongelyke bedingingsvermoë van die verskillende partye (hierdie faktore dra min gewig)

Voorbeelde van beskermingswaardige belange is vertroulike inligting, handelsgeheime, kliëntverhoudings en -lyste, en die welwillendheid van die besigheid. Dit sluit egter nie planne om die kompetisie te elimineer en die belegging van tyd en kapitaal in die opleiding van die werknemer in nie.

Dit is nie genoeg dat vertroulike inligting net as sulks beskou word nie. Vir inligting om as vertroulik beskou te word, moet dit kommersieel nuttig wees, met ander woorde dit moet toegepas kan word in die industrie, ekonomiese waarde hê vir die persoon wat dit wil beskerm, en slegs bekend wees aan ‘n beperkte aantal persone.

Die bewys van handelsverbintenisse sal slegs relevant wees indien die werknemer toegang het tot die werkgewer se kliënte en sodanige verhouding met die werkgewer se kliënte het dat dit hom/haar in staat sou stel om so ‘n invloed oor hulle te hê dat die kliënte hom/haar sal volg indien hy/sy die diens van die werkgewer verlaat. Die volgende faktore is hier van belang:

  • die pligte van die werknemer;
  • die persoonlikheid van die werknemer;
  • die frekwensie en tydsduur van die werknemer se kontak met die kliënte;
  • sy/haar invloed or die kliënte;
  • aard van sy/haar verhouding met die klënte (mate van aanhang, omvang van hul vertroue in hom/haar);
  • vlak van kompetisie tussen die mededingende besighede;
  • die tipe produk wat verkoop word; en
  • bewyse dat kliënte verloor is as gevolg van die werknemer se vertrek.

Met verwysing tot die bogenoemde moet die volgende vrae gevra word:

  1. Is daar ‘n belang van party A wat waardig is om beskerm te word?
  2. Word daardie belang benadeel deur party B?
  3. Indien wel, weeg die belang van party A kwalitatief en kwantitatief meer teenoor die belang van party B, wat sal inhou dat daardie party ekonomies onaktief en onproduktief sal wees?
  4. Is daar enige openbare beleid wat vereis dat die handelsbeperking gehandhaaf of van die hand gewys word?

Al is die handelingsbeperkingsooreenkoms billik inter partes, mag dit nog steeds beslis word dat dit nie in openbare belang afgedwing moet word nie.

Bronnelys:

Basson v Chilwan & Others 1993 (3) SA 742 (A)

Sunshine Records (Pty) Ltd v Flohing & Others 1990 (4) SA 782 (A)

Magna Alloys & Research (SA) (Pty) Ltd v Ellis 1984 (4) SA 874 (A)

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

ARE RESTRAINT OF TRADE AGREEMENTS ALWAYS VALID AND ENFORCEABLE?

ARE RESTRAINT OF TRADE AGREEMENTS ALWAYS VALID AND ENFORCEABLE?

MHI_A2blHistorically restraint of trade agreements were void and unenforceable unless the employer could prove that it was a reasonable agreement entered into between the parties. Fortunately for employers the position in our law has changed.

What are restraint of trade agreements?         

An agreement that seeks to restrict a party’s right to carry on a trade, business or profession in such manner or with such persons as he/she sees fit, is restraint of trade.

Restraint of trade clauses are most commonly found in employment and partnership contracts, which usually takes effect after termination of the contract, or in sale of a business or practice.

Why are they controversial?

They are controversial because there is a clash of fundamental values: on the one hand there is freedom or sanctity of contract which relies on agreements being honoured, and on the other hand there is freedom of trade which is a constitutionally recognised right.

As with other contracts, restraint of trade agreements are presumed to be prima facie valid and enforceable. Whereas the onus had earlier been on the employer to prove that implementation of restraint of trade was fair and in public interest, the onus is now on the employee to show why enforcement in the particular circumstances would be against the public interest.

An unreasonable restraint is contrary to the public interest and hence unenforceable. The reasonableness of a restraint of trade clause or agreement is judged on two bases: broad interests of community, and interests of the parties themselves.

Reasonableness inter partes depends on a variety of factors:

  • Does the employer have a protectable interest?
  • Area and duration of restraint (possibility of partial enforcement)
  • Concession by the employee in the contract that restraint is reasonable, and inequality of bargaining power of parties (these factors carry little weight)

Examples of protectable interests are confidential information, trade secrets, customer connections and lists, and goodwill of the business. However, it does not include interest in the elimination of competition, and the investment of time and capital in the training of the employee.

It is not sufficient simply to label confidential information as such. In order to be confidential the information must be commercially useful, in other words capable of application in trade or industry, have economic value to the person seeking to protect it, and be known only to a restricted number of people.

With regards to trade connections, it will only be relevant when the employee has close working relations with the customers, to such an extent that there is a danger of him/her taking them with him/her when he/she leaves the business. Relevant factors here include the following:

  • duties of the employee;
  • his/her personality;
  • frequency and duration of the contact with the customers;
  • his/her influence over them;
  • nature of his/her relationship with them (degree of attachment, extent of their reliance on him/her);
  • level of competition between the rival businesses;
  • type of product sold; and
  • evidence that customers were lost when he/she left the business.

With reference to the above the following questions must be asked:

  1. Does party A have an interest deserving of protection?
  2. Is such interest being prejudiced by party B?
  3. If so, how does A’s interest weigh up qualitatively and quantitatively against B’s interest in not being economically inactive and unproductive?
  4. Is there some broader facet of public policy that requires the enforcement or rejection of the restraint?

If restraint of trade agreement is reasonable inter partes, it may still be unenforceable if it is damaging to the public interest for a reason not peculiar to the parties.

Sources:

Basson v Chilwan & Others [1993] 3 SA 742

Sunshine Records (Pty) Ltd v Flohing & Others 1990 (4) SA 782 (A)

Magna Alloys & Research (SA) (Pty) Ltd v Ellis 1984 (4) SA 874 (A)

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

JURISDIKSIE VAN HOWE IN SAKE WAAR MAATSKAPPYE BETROKKE IS

JURISDIKSIE VAN HOWE IN SAKE WAAR MAATSKAPPYE BETROKKE IS

article4bl-OctoberTradisioneel en onder die vorige Maatskappywet kon ‘n maatskappy ‘n geregistreerde adres en ‘n hoofplek van besigheid hê.  ‘n Maatskappy kon byvoorbeeld van een adres af sy besigheid bedryf en ook ‘n geregistreerde adres by sy ouditeure hê.

Kragtens die 1973-Maatskappywet het enige afdeling van die Hooggeregshof waar ‘n maatskappy ‘n geregistreerde adres of ‘n hoofplek van besigheid het, jurisdiksie gehad om ‘n saak aan te hoor.   Meer as een hof kon gevolglik jurisdiksie hê in verrigtinge waar ‘n maatskappy betrokke was.

Die nuwe 2008- Maatskappywet wat die 1973 Wet in ‘n groot mate herroep, het nie ‘n soortgelyke bewoording wat voorsiening maak vir meer as een adres nie.  In die saak van Sibakhulu Construction (Edms) Bpk v Wedgewood Village Golf Country Estate (Edms) Bpk (Nedbank tree tussenbeide) 2013 (1) SA 191 was die Wes-Kaapse Hoërhof gemoeid met die vraag watter hof kragtens die nuwe Wet jurisdiksie sal hê waar ‘n maatskappy ‘n geregistreerde adres het wat verskil van die hoofplek van besigheid.

Die saak het gehandel oor ondernemingsredding- en likwidasieverrigtinge.  Die Hof het daarop gewys dat Artikel 128 van die Wet slegs verwys na “…die Hooggeregshof…”  Hierdie bewoording impliseer dat slegs een hof jurisdiksie oor ‘n maatskappy sal hê en nie meer as een hof soos in die vorige Wet nie.  In sy oorweging van die saak het die Hof aandag geskenk aan die interpretasie van die nuwe Wet.

Artikel 23(3) van die nuwe Wet bepaal spesifiek dat ‘n maatskappy deurentyd ten minste een kantoor moet onderhou en die adres daarvan, of indien die maatskappy meer as een kantoor het, die adres van sy hoofkantoor, moet registreer. Ingevolge die nuwe Wet sal hierdie kantoor dus die maatskappy se geregistreerde kantoor wees.  Artikel 23 stel dit ook duidelik dat die kantoor deur die maatskappy self beheer moet word terwyl die daaropvolgende artikel aantoon watter dokumentêre rekords by die adres gehou moet word.  Die Hof het opgemerk dat die nuwe Wet die gebruik behou van ‘n geregistreerde adres waarmee die buitewêreld kontak kan maak.

Ongelukkig het die nuwe Wet nie “hoofkantoor” gedefinieer nie maar die hof het opgemerk dat met die nagaan van die Wet dit duidelik is dat die bedoeling was om ‘n plek aan te dui waar die maatskappy se besigheidsadministrasie geleë is.  Die Hof was van mening dat hierdie adres ook die hoofplek van besigheid van die maatskappy moet wees.  Die maatskappy se hoofplek van besigheid en geregistreerde kantoor moet gevolglik by dieselfde adres wees.

Die Hof het ook verwys na Artikel 7 van die Wet wat stel dat die bedoeling van die Wet is om voorsiening te maak vir ‘n voorspelbare en effektiewe omgewing vir die doeltreffende regulering van maatskappye.  Die Hof het die mening gehuldig dat, om uitvoering aan die bedoeling van die Wet soos uiteengesit in Artikel 7 te gee, dit volg dat ‘n maatskappy kragtens Artikel 23 slegs by sy geregistreerde adres gehuisves kan wees, wat beteken dat slegs ‘n enkele hof jurisdiksie het.

Maatskappye moet kennis neem van hierdie uitspraak en seker maak dat hul hoofplek van besigheid as hul geregistreerde adres geregistreer word.

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.

Kliek hier om die volledige vrywaring te sien

JURISDICTION OF COURTS IN MATTERS INVOLVING COMPANIES

JURISDICTION OF COURTS IN MATTERS INVOLVING COMPANIES

article4bl-OctoberTraditionally, and under the previous Companies Act, a company could have a principal place of business and a registered office.  A company could, for instance, conduct its business at one office and also have a registered office with its auditors.

In terms of the 1973 Companies Act any division of the High Court where a company’s registered office or its principal place of business was located, would have jurisdiction.  More than one Court could, as a consequence, have jurisdiction in proceedings where a company was involved.

The new 2008 Companies Act, which repealed to a large extent the 1973 Act, does not have a similar wording that provides for more than one address.  In the matter of Sibakhulu Construction (Pty) Ltd v Wedgewood Village Golf Country Estate (Pty) Ltd (Nedbank Intervening) 2013 (1) SA 191 the Western Cape High Court dealt with the question of which Court would have jurisdiction where a company has a registered address different from its principal place of business.

The matter revolved around business rescue proceedings and winding up proceedings. The Court remarked that Section 128 of the Act makes reference to only “…the High Court…”  This wording denotes that a single Court would have jurisdiction over a company, and not more than one Court as in the previous Act.  In dealing with the matter the Court considered the interpretation of the new Act.

Section 23(3) of the new Act specifically states that a company must continually maintain at least one office and register the address of its office or of its principal office if the company has more than one office. This office will, under the new Act, be the company’s registered office.  Section 23 makes it clear that this office must be maintained by the company itself and the following Section deals with documentary records to be kept at the address.  The Court remarked that the new Act retained the institution of a registered office with which the outside world could make contact.

Unfortunately the Act does not define “principal office” but the Court remarked that, from a reading of the Act, it is clear that the intention is to denote the place where the administrative business of the company is centred.  It follows, the Court suggested, that this office should also be the principal place of business. The Court concluded that the principal place of business and the registered office have to be at the same address under the new Act.

Reference was further made to Section 7 of the new Act where it is stated that the purpose of the Act is to provide a “predictable and effective environment for the efficient regulation of companies”.  The Court held the view that to give effect to the purpose of the Act as set out in Section 7 it would follow that, in terms of Section 23, a company can only reside at its registered office, which means that only a single court can have jurisdiction.

Companies should be aware of this judgment and make sure that they register their principal place of business as their registered address.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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