Conflict of Laws PVL4507F

Final Level, half course, first semester, two lectures per week.

9 NQF credits at HEQSF level 8

Convener: Associate Professor A Barratt

Course entry requirements: All Preliminary and Intermediate Level courses to have been completed.

Course outline:

This course introduces the rules and principles governing conflict of laws problems. For example: a South African testator bequeaths all his property to his mistress. He leaves nothing to his wife. This is permitted in terms of South African laws of succession. He and his wife were married in Scotland, and his widow argues that according to the Scottish law of marriage, she is entitled to a third of her husband’s estate. Should a South African court apply the South African succession rule or the Scottish marital property rule? Meanwhile, the widow’s sister publishes unflattering comments about the mistress on Twitter. The comments would be deemed defamatory in terms of South African law, but the sister lives in Malawi and the comments would not be considered defamatory in terms of Malawian law. Which rules of defamation should a South African court apply?

In this course we examine the general principles governing application of foreign law and focus particularly on conflict of law questions arising in the context of contract, delict, property, succession, marriage, and divorce.

DP requirements: None.

Assessment: Coursework 30%, Final examination 70%