Commercial Law

  • verbal agreement

    Can you legally rely on a person’s word only instead of a written change in an agreement?

    This was the simple inquiry we got the other day.

    “Are oral variations of an agreement valid?”

     To illustrate let us take an example:

    If, for example, you agree to rent a house from a friend of yours for a fixed period of two years.

    You both furthermore agree that you should enter into a written lease agreement and you have a written lease drawn up properly.

    Everything goes well until the monthly rental increases come into effect as per the written lease agreement at the end of the first year.

    You discuss the situation with your friend who agrees to waive the increase verbally.

    But is this sufficient and can you legally rely on his word only?

  • commercial lease ending

    Landlords often refer to an early cancellation of a lease agreement by the tenant as “a breach of contract.” This is not the case.

    At The Legal Advice Office, we receive emails every single week from tenants who want to inquire about the possibility of terminating their lease agreements.

    There are many reasons for this. Some are purely financial reasons, some because their businesses are not viable, sometimes it is because they want to relocate either from one city or town to another or simply to change the venue for their business.

    In other case, it is because they were misled by the landlord or the agent at the time of entering the lease eg with regard to a misrepresentation as to the amount of anticipated foot traffic for their particular centre.

    If you have valid grounds a lease agreement may be terminated and cancelled in terms of the common law.

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  •  mediation web

    Many businesses around the world are increasingly opting for mediation as a method of commercial dispute resolution.

    We recently received the following question.

     “My company is in business and is quite often embroiled in legal disputes that end in expensive litigation. This takes time, sometimes years, and is not only time consuming, but is expensive and frustrating. I realise that legal disputes are part and parcel of the business environment, but it would be nice if we could resolve some of these disputes faster and with less expense. Have you any ideas as I have heard about the subject “mediation”, but am not sure if this would is a good idea or simply be delaying the inevitable litigation?”

  •  e commerce tC web

    Your website T&C's - essentially represent your agreement of use and trade

    On Monday we received the following question via email.

     “I’ve recently launched an online business and I am busy setting up my website. My website developer has strongly advised me to look at proper terms and conditions for my website. I’ve always thought these were relatively standard T’s & C’s, but he seems to think they must be quite specific. Must they be specific or can I just copy terms and conditions from other websites?”

  • break a contract 700x350

    All fixed terms agreements only apply to natural people like you and me and not to companies. This is the first important aspect to note.

    On a regular basis, we receive enquiries at The Legal Advice Office about how a consumer can go about terminating a fixed term contract.

    Both the common law and the Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008 (CPA) can play a role in this subject; so we thought we would today look at the role of the CPA in this regard.

  • What grounds do I need to cancel a sale?

    What process must I follow?

  •  private company

     Setting up a company can be a quick exercise if you have done your homework well

    The Legal Advice Office recently received the following query via email.

    “I have applied for and been approved to open up a small franchise business. The franchisor, however, requires that I run the franchise business in the name of a private company and not in my own personal name. Where do I start this process if I want to register my own private company; and how do I set a private company up.”

  •  At own risk

    An indemnity is an agreement in terms of which one party indemnifies another from liability for certain possible future events, liability and risk for such an event.

    Eg: In a garage or a mechanics workshop a sign that reads “Cars are driven at the owner’s risk” or in a parking garage “Cars are stored at the owner’s sole risk.” These are general terms of indemnity that a service provider wants you to agree to, and can also often be found on quotations and invoices.

    Today; we thought we would try and answer this question which was sent to us last week on Friday.


  • One of the issues that crop up on a regular basis with The Legal Advice Office are queries and advice sought from us when you have been lied to or, at least, not been told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
    If someone sells you an item, for example, a motor car, and they do not fully disclose to you any defects in that vehicle that they knew about or should reasonably have known about; then you have certain legal rights and recourse.

  • watercrisis web

    “Water is Life.”

    As Cape Town continues to brace itself for a possible day zero; a number of questions have been raised with us about how this water crisis affects the rights of tenants and landlords.

    Both landlords and tenants have contractual obligations to one another as part of their lease agreements; but what happens in this drought situation if circumstances make it impossible for one or either of them to comply due to circumstances beyond their control.

    A drought would fall under the common law definition of “An act of God” and most lease agreements make provision for such an event.

  • Intellectual property procection copy

    Can someone use your ideas and posts on social media platforms without your consent?

    Last week we were asked to do a blog on Intellectual Property; in the sense that someone complained to us that people were using her ideas and posts on social media platforms without her consent.

    Can they do that??

    Intellectual property, in its broadest sense, can be an invention, an idea or a process/method of doing things that is the product of your work and/or your mind and would include registered trademarks and patents which are formally registered; but also your songs, music and even your blogs, writings, essays, articles and other writings such as poems, letters etc. They all form part of your Intellectual Property. You have the copyright in your IP.

    So the question arises can someone else use your ideas?

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Legal Advice Office

South Africa

Kandelaar Street, Vermont, Hermanus
Phone: +27 (028) 316 2832
Email: info@legaladviceoffice.co.za