Jacques Du Plessis, ‘Rethinking Notification in the Law of Contract’

The South African law of contract provides that notification could take place in a variety of contexts. At times, it is crucial to determine when exactly notification is effected, and a range of possibilities present themselves. They include the moment when a party first sends or dispatches a notice (for example, when a letter is posted or a data message such as an email is sent); the moment when the notice is delivered to or is received by the addressee (for example when a letter arrives at the addressee’s postal address or a data message enters the addressee’s data retrieval system); and the moment when the addressee actually becomes aware of the contents of the notice. An analysis of common-law authorities on notification of the decision to terminate a contract due to breach reveals a preference for the last-mentioned approach, However, this is undesirable for a variety of reasons, and it is proposed that the common law requires rethinking, especially in the light of important recent judgements of the Constitutional Court on notification requirements imposed in credit legislation. The conclusion is reached that the approach that notification becomes effective upon delivery or receipt of the notice is preferable, and that it should be uniformly be adopted in our common law.

Du Plessis, Jacques, Rethinking Notification in the Law of Contract (February 19, 2017). Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law, volume 80, p 113-125, 2017.

First posted 2017-08-23 06:15:21

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