Talking Point August 2017

A succinct discussion of selected topical, legal matters

Dear Friends and Colleagues

I take great pleasure in submitting the August 2017 edition of Talking Point to you.  This edition and the previous two editions are also on our website at

We are comfortably settled in our new offices at 9th Floor, The Terraces, 34 Bree Street (between Waterkant and Riebeek Streets), Cape Town.  We would like to show our new offices to you.

Into the new, but cognisant of the old, Plato features in this introduction.

Plato (a nickname, real name unknown) lived from approximately 423 BCE to 348 BCE.  He was born into an aristocratic and wealthy family in Athens, received a good education, and became a Classical Greek philosopher and mathematician.  He founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.  Hyperbolically, an English philosopher once stated: “the … European philosophical tradition … consists of a series of footnotes to Plato“.

As one of the primary foundational figures for Western science, philosophy, and mathematics, he is one of the most frequently quoted historical figures:

  • Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something.”

  • Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the law.”

More quotes from Plato

In this issue:

Virtual assets in your digital estate

The virtual (digital/electronic) world has become a reality of our modern society, and many of us are reluctantly or enthusiastically participants in the virtual world.  In that world, we acquire ‘digital assets’.  When one’s life ends, your digital assets survive, and what is to become of them?

Second bite at the cherry

How final is the division of assets under a divorce settlement agreement?  We discuss a case in which one divorced spouse wanted more after the death of the other.

An own goal

Based on its on-field history, starting in the late 1800s, Rangers Football Club is perhaps Scotland’s most successful football club.  However, its financial history has been one of boom (for instance, a listing on the London Stock Exchange in 2000) and bust (a liquidation in 2012).  The financial disaster has been mainly attributed to a tax ‘avoidance’ scheme that had quite the opposite effect.

To pray or not to pray

The High Court, Johannesburg grapples with the challenging constitutional question of religious practice in public schools.  Yet many aspects remain unresolved.

The fish bone in the fish chowder

The famous legal case discussed in the previous edition dealt with a snail in a ginger beer bottle served in a restaurant.  Keeping with the theme, we discuss another case dealing with a restaurant and product liability (the liability of a manufacturer for placing a defective product into the hands of a consumer).

As always, I would greatly appreciate your feedback on Talking Point. Please email me at


Charl Theron