Judgements in magistrate’s courts are not binding as are High Court judgements. Nevertheless, it was reported that the Randburg Magistrate’s Court accepted that digital letters of demand (SMSs) complied with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act and are valid. High time.


Today one finds two classes of trust accounts run by attorneys: those in which the deposits are guaranteed by the Law Society but where the Law Society takes the interest as quid pro quo, and those where the client receives the interest, but the Law Society does not guarantee the deposit. I hear tell that the latter deposits will, under the new dispensation commencing on 1 November, carry a 5% levy in favour of the new attorneys’ governing body. Is anyone able to verify this?


An interesting case was published recently in which the Eastern Cape High Court found that a surety has the right to be informed of facts beyond his information that may affect the decision given by him, when providing the security required by a bank. Worth a read for practitioners.


The value of usufruct calculations is based on a 12% return on the value of the property concerned (which is probably 50% higher than the real return today). The tables dealing with these have, to my knowledge, been in use since 1956. The effect thereof is that the value of usufructs is skewed in favour of usufructuaries. I find it amazing that no one has yet sought to take on SARS on these. I would be most interested on your thoughts, if you agree?


Proxismart will not lie down: an appeal against the recent High Court judgement has been noted by Proxismart. For those not in the know: this company wishes to do conveyancing, currently reserved work for conveyancers only, and was given short shrift by our High Court. Ask me for a copy of the appeal.


This Tuesday the first of the cases against a Durban practice, which employed the then well-respected attorney, Colin Cowan, will commence in the Pietermaritzburg High Court. That firm has joined its auditors, a local financial adviser and an audit company which allegedly managed elements of the scheme. The total sum involved is reportedly well over R100m. It is going to be quite interesting to see what comes of this, as these claims have been brewing for several years.