Benaters | Boutique Law Firm in Johannesburg

News & Insights

Incisive legal news and insights

Employees be Warned! A Conflict of Interest Can Get You Dismissed

Dismissal from employment is a drastic remedy, and not lightly upheld by our courts.  But where an employee breaches his/her general duty to act loyally, honestly and in their employers’ best interests, it’s certainly on the table.

We discuss a case in which a municipal employee with 29 years of service was found guilty of a conflict of interest involving his wife’s and brother’s business links to the municipality.  His fate is a timely warning to employees to follow Benjamin Franklin’s advice that “honesty is the best policy”.

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Benaters Attorneys
Don’t Lose Your Claim to Prescription - Know the Law!

Delay suing your debtor for too long and you lose your right to claim forever.  That’s the practical effect of our law of prescription, and it’s like throwing money away.  It’s also totally avoidable.

But what if you didn’t know you had a claim in the first place?  A recent judgment from the highest court in the land – our Constitutional Court – warns that what counts is whether your lack of knowledge is a case of factual ignorance, or a case of ignorance of the law.  It’s the source of your ignorance that counts; and not managing that can cost you a lot of money…

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Trustees: Your Risk of Personal Liability in Property Sales

Let’s look at a recent High Court case in which a property seller sued a trustee personally for R2m. The trustee, it turned out, had no authority to sign the sale agreement alone, causing the sale to collapse.

What steps should trustees take to protect themselves from personal liability, and what steps should sellers and buyers take to protect their positions when contracting with trusts?  

Read on for the answers…

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Benaters Attorneys
Plot-and-Plan: Great Option, Just Beware the Building Deadline

There are many benefits to the “buy and build” option when you decide to buy a house, but they come with some important cautions.

One of them is that buyers who fail to build on their plots by deadline risk penalty levies and/or buy-back (retransfer) clauses.  We discuss a recent SCA case illustrating both the risk to buyers of a buy-back clause, and the need for developers to beware of losing their claims through prescription.

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Benaters Attorneys
Sellers and Landlords: Using an Unregistered Estate Agent

The Estate Agency Affairs Board says that up to 50,000 agents may be operating without the required Fidelity Fund Certificate, and whilst many former agents have probably just closed up shop, there is a chance that the agent who sold or rented out your house for you is (whether inadvertently or by design) unregistered.

We look at how this affects you, with a note to agents on the importance of renewing your Fidelity Fund Certificates and using your EAAB PrivySeals.

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Benaters Attorneys
Here’s Why You Need an ANC (Whether You Marry Here or Overseas)

It’s important to sort out all the legalities before your wedding date.

Upfront legal advice and assistance is essential here. We’ll look by way of example at the “international wedding” scenario - at which country’s “marital regime” will apply to you (that’s vital knowledge so don’t ignore this), the grey areas surrounding the “domicile” issue, and a very simple way to avoid any doubt or dispute down the line.

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Selling Property this Festive Season? 3 Tips for a Smooth Transfer

The Festive Season can be a great time to sell property, and to buy it. 

Regardless of whether you are a buyer or a seller, we are talking here about an important and valuable asset – perhaps the most important you will ever own.  So it’s critical to both parties that you do everything you can to make the whole process as professional, quick, smooth and hassle-free as you possibly can. 

We share three tips for achieving just that …

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Benaters Attorneys
Closing Down the Guesthouse Next Door: Notes for Owners and Neighbours

Are you planning to open a guesthouse?  Or perhaps you live next door to an existing guesthouse and for some reason want to have it shut down?

Either way, you need to know what your rights are, and what you will have to prove if you end up in a court battle.  By way of illustration we discuss an attempt by residents of a quiet suburb to shut down a guesthouse amidst allegations of noise, wild parties and nuisance guests. 

The Court’s decision is as important for all would-be guesthouse owners as it is for their neighbours.

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Benaters Attorneys
Creditors and Debtors: Important New Prescription Judgment
Running into debt isn’t so bad. It’s running into creditors that hurts” (Unknown)


The fact that debts prescribe (become uncollectable after a period of time) presents as much of a threat to a creditor as it does an opportunity to a debtor so it’s important for both to understand the process.   

We’ll list the periods that apply to common types of debt and talk about prescription being “delayed” or “interrupted”.  We’ll focus in particular on a recent and very important Supreme Court of Appeal decision answering the question: “Can a debtor’s admission of liability interrupt prescription even if it is made without prejudice during settlement negotiations?”  

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