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Legal Aid

Legal Aid is a leading provider of quality, professional legal services, ensuring effective access to justice for the poor and vulnerable, in an independent and caring manner.

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Contact details:

Website: www.legal-aid.co.za

Email:communications2@legal-aid.co.za

Gauteng

+27 12 664 2921

Kwazulu Natal

+27 31 717 8450

Eastern Cape

+27 41 373 8296

Free State and North West

+27 51 447 3636

Services:

Name of service: Legal Aid

On going legal advice as well asdownloadable legal handbooks containing up to date information.

Locations:

Countrywide

Contact:

Use number for office that is closest toyou.

Cost:

Free of charge

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What Is The Legal Impact Of Acknowledgements?

Why the old saying of “think before you ink” is not as dated as you may think.

Nicolene Schoeman-Louw

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Often, in the midst of a disagreement, we find ourselves reducing things to writing. As attorneys, we often consider this as the most useful or dangerous of situations. Specifically, when admissions are being made and the parties to the dispute are not even aware that this is what they are doing!

Let’s be practical about this. We often see correspondence between people whether in an email, SMS, Facebook or instant message “…I will pay you….” On the flipside of the coin – often people ignore invoices or payment demands. This is equally problematic.

The implications if you reply or state that you will do something

Firstly, it does not matter how this is done or which platform is used. The Electronic Communications and Transactions Act 25 2002 as amended (ECTA) allows for the admission of documents, in court, which is of electronic origin on the same basis as documentary evidence.

The courts are facing an increase of evidence produced which is of an electronic nature. This includes communication such as emails/ WhatsApp messages/ social media communications albeit Facebook/ Instagram.

The problem is, if you state anything that could be construed as an admission or acknowledgement that the other person has a claim then this could be used as evidence in a court of law.

So, what is the problem of not saying anything at all?

In law, there is a common law presumption that when someone states that they have a claim against you and you do not respond, you agree.

So, be careful not to say anything at all.

Without prejudice

Most people are aware of or have heard that marking correspondence as “without prejudice” keeps it off the record. Well, not always.

For the without prejudice privilege to apply and to protect communications or information from being used in court, the following must be present:

  1. An admission or statement must be made,
  2. In the course of settlement negotiations,
  3. [as a] Genuine attempt to settle the dispute (in other words it cannot be used to conceal facts or evidence and so obstruct justice ).[1]

A without prejudice offer during settlement negotiations cannot be an admission in court by the party making it. The offer is only admissible if the parties are required to prove that an offer of settlement was made at all.

Related: Alternatives To Traditional Legal Services – What Options Do Entrepreneurs Have?

In support of this, in a case in the former Transvaal Provincial Division (TPD) (now called the North Gauteng High Court if seated in Pretoria and the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg) the court held that:

“Negotiations conducted without prejudice, are of course, designed to resolve disputes between the parties and if the negotiations result in a settlement then logically evidence about settlement and the negotiations leading up to it should be available to the trial court because the whole basis of the non–disclosure has fallen away”.[2]

This means that in some instances without prejudice communications can become admissible evidence in court, losing their privilege regardless of whether or not all documents have been marked accordingly.

Related: 4 Legal Mistakes You Could Be Making When Starting Out

A more pressing problem arises when a communication aimed at settlement deals with other issues as well. In this case, the privilege only covers the part of communication containing the admission or concession aimed at settlement.[3]

Another statement or admission within the correspondence can be quite irrelevant to settlement negotiations, which means that statement will not be entitled to privilege and therefore not protected as such.

Next Steps

If you find yourself in a dispute with someone, it is advisable to contact an attorney to advise you on a response from the start of the matter.

[1] Reinecke 2011: 131.

[2] Meyer v Provincial Department of Health and welfare and others – judgement of Mavundla (J) on 27 January 2006 –TPOD case number 9092/05.

[3]  Reinecke 2011: 132.

 

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Legal Assistance

DM Kisch, IP law specialists

As South African domestic and global markets become increasingly competitive, businesses wishing to grow are increasingly forced to innovate, improve products and differentiate themselves from a host of competitors.

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Contact details:
Tel: 011 324 3000
Email: info@dmkisch.com
Web: www.dmkisch.com

Name of Service: Legal Assistance

As one of South Africa’s leading intellectual property law specialists, DM Kisch offers a combination of skills, commitment and experience in the protection and management of intellectual property, from creation, protection and commercialisation to litigation.

Established in 1874, DM Kisch has a long and distinguished history in intellectual property law, with  the experience and understanding of the complex and diverse needs of business and society at large to deliver effective solutions to clients.

DM Kisch, with offices in Johannesburg and Pretoria and an international network of intellectual property management specialists, offers a focussed and dynamic team with specialised capabilities and expertise to deliver the best solution for clients.

Practice Areas
Copyright

  • Requirements for subsistence of copyright – Slogans and sounds, names, computer generated symbols, software, distinctive packaging, person’s identity, image, artistic and musical works
  • Registration of copyrights in cinematographic films
  • Assignment of copyright – Author of a copyrighted work is the first owner in most instances and has the right to assign copyright in the work to another person
  • Licensing – Copyright license undertaking by the copyright owner not to sue the party, which holds the license

Litigation

Copyright is infringed when there is unauthorised copying, reproduction or adaptation of a substantial portion of a copyrighted work.

At DM Kisch, we conduct all intellectual property litigation on behalf of clients, including all patent, trade mark and copyright litigation, anti-counterfeit litigation, litigation relating to intellectual property licences, unlawful competition and passing-off.  We also act for clients in laying or defending Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) complaints.

Licensing
Intellectual property, such as patents, designs, trade marks, copyright, trade secrets and know-how, can be licenced to third parties (licensees) in return for some sort of remuneration.
Ownership of the rights are retained by the licensor. An owner authorises the licensee to use or apply the rights in terms of a licence contract.
DM Kisch Inc can assist with the negotiation and drafting of licence contracts, together with our commercial department, advising on deal and tax structuring.

Branding
At all times, trade marks should be protected in the manner in which they are used. Logos are also protected under copyright and it is essential to ensure you are the owner of the copyright. The commissioning party will not automatically hold copyright created by third parties.

Cost

Contact via email or phone for a quote

Location:

Offices in Pretoria and Johannesburg with an national and international applicabilities.

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Legal Assistance

Labour Net

LabourNet advises and assists clients regarding the risks associated with the employment of staff in order to increase productivity and to manage staff performance. They deal with trade unions on behalf of clients and help with disciplinary aspects with regard to complex Employment Legislation.

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LabourNet

Contact details:

Services:

Name of service:

Industrial Relations Plan

The client pays an up front registration fee so that LabourNet can proceed and provide services to the client. Once the registration fee has been paid, you are allocated a consultant who will deliver various services:

LabourNet will conduct a comprehensive Labour Audit of your existing policies and industrial relation practices. The first four hours of the labour-audit process is free and thereafter the normal billable rate will apply.

The audit consists of:

  • Review of existing policies and contracts of employment
  • Identifying and addressing short comings in application of industrial relations practices and procedures
  • Drafting of new policies to align the company with best practices in industrial relations
  • Drafting of new contracts of employment
  • Ensuring registration with the relevant statutory bodies applicable to your company such as UIF and Bargaining Councils
  • Implementation of polices and contracts developed during the labour audit
  • Ensuring your management understands how to use the policies to be implemented
  • LabourNet Terms and Conditions in detail
  • The use of the handbook “What a tangled web we weave” as well as assisting the client to load the CD with the forms and precedents
  • Free attendance to the regular LabourNet Industrial Relations Seminars
  • Regular News Letters

Cost:

Retainer fee determined after audit

Locations:

Countrywide

Name of service:

Human Resources Plan

LabourNet’s suite of Human Resource services can be adapted to meet any organisation’s requirement and to ensure that each individual organisation’s needs are met.  The Human Resource Outsourcing process has successfully been implemented in organisations of varied sizes and across industries.

LabourNet Human Resources service packages are provided in three formats.

  • Retainer Based Services
  • Ad hoc Project Based Services
  • Human Resources Management and PayrollIntegrated Software System (Web based)

Cost:

Retainer fee determined after audit

Locations:

Countrywide

Name of service:

Payment Solutions

LabourNet Payment Solutions (Pty) Ltd is a subsidiary of LabourNet Holdings. They offer leading edge software from BDB Data bureau (Pty) Ltd to provide a full outsource payroll bureau service to clients across all market segments. BDB Data Bureau (Pty) Ltd is a software processing bureau and is jointly owned by two leading banks, ABSA BANK Ltd and NEDCOR Ltd.

This agreement allows for:

  • LabourNet Payment Solutions offers acomplete solution to administer payrolls, provide an integrated HumanResource/Payroll solution and process payment to the client’s employees’ and creditor directly to their bank accounts.

LabourNet Payment Solutions can also help with debt collections which are done electronically and paid into the client’s bank account.

LabourNet Payment Solutions objective is to assist companies who do not have direct utilisation of the Bankserv bank clearing bureau.  Through the relationship with BDB as a bank bureau, LabourNet Payment Solutions will assist the client in processing both Credit and Debit transactions (such as Salaries,Wages, Bond repayments and Sundry Creditor Payments etc.) on behalf of the client by utilising an Electronic Link Initiated Transfer of Entries (ELITE) system, which clears funds to all banks, through the Bankserv clearing bureau.

Cost:

Retainer fee determined after audit

Locations:

Countrywide

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