A delict occurs when one party commits a wrong against another. The basic elements of delict are conduct, wrongfulness, fault, causation and damage.
Wrongfulness or unlawfulness: conduct which is objectively unreasonable and without lawful justification. According to South African law, wrongfulness is a necessary condition for delictual liability. The test for wrongfulness is that of the boni mores, or legal convictions of the community. The test has been described as an objective, reasonableness test and looks at whether the harm was caused in a legally reprehensible way. Underpinning the boni mores are constitutional values.
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Leo Boonzaier is a lecturer in the Department of Private Law at the University of Cape Town. He studied social science and law at UCT and then earned a bachelor of civil law from Oxford. In 2012 he worked as a research assistant to Prof Reinhard Zimmermann at the Max Planck Institute for Private Law in Hamburg, and in 2013 and 2014 he clerked for Justice Edwin Cameron at the Constitutional Court of South Africa. Leo has taught tort, contract, land, and jurisprudence for various Oxford colleges as well as at University College London.
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