Bernard Wessels, ‘Legal and public policy considerations that justify legislative development of the law of delict’

ABSTRACT
An evaluation of the different ways in which the South African legal system currently provides compensation for crime victims suggests that an alternative form of crime victim compensation should be considered. The most common solution adopted in foreign jurisdictions is the enactment of a statutory crime victim compensation scheme. The crucial question is whether such legislative development could be justified in South Africa. To investigate the justifiability of a crime victim compensation scheme, the following approach is suggested. First, a theoretical framework must be developed to provide an outline for justifiable statutory reform of the law of delict insofar as the compensation of victims is generally concerned. Only once this has been done, can attention be given to the more specific question, namely whether the potential enactment of a statutory compensation fund for crime victims could fit into such a framework. This contribution focuses on the first issue, namely setting out a theoretical framework for future justifiable statutory development of the law of delict. This is done by identifying legal and public policy considerations that the legislature have used in the past to develop the law relating to the compensation of specific categories of victims. This contribution therefore looks at the historical development of three major statutes that have developed the law relating to the compensation of specific categories of victims: the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996, the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 and the Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008.

Bernard Wessels, Legal and public policy considerations that justify legislative development of the law of delict, Fundamina (Pretoria), 2019, volume 25, no 2, pp 199-255, http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-7870/2019/v25n2a8.

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