Africa: Repaying the debt
The unique combination of Roman-Dutch and English law that exists in South Africa has had positive consequences for resolving insurance cases. Patrick Bracher details recent cases illustrating this, and suggests English insurance lawyers would do well to look to South Africa for the reference of some useful decisions
After the Cape was taken over by the UK at the end of the 18th century, British control lasted until 1910. Although Roman-Dutch law was retained as the common law of South Africa, there was an inevitable movement to adopt English law and institutions. Court procedures, including the law of evidence, were substantially absorbed. In areas where Roman-Dutch law was of little assistance – such as law on companies, insolvency, negotiable instruments and intellectual property – English legislative patterns were followed. In shipping law and marine insurance, together with fire and life assurance, English law was influential in the development of an insurance jurisprudence.
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