Remember to set the table for one extra (sometimes uninvited) guest that hangs out at your family home. Yes, it is important to have a basic understanding of the law, as it is with us wherever we go. Let’s have a look at a few Family, Civil, Criminal and Labour Law examples at home to put things into perspective.

1.       The irritating neighbours. Your neighbour has the right to the use and enjoyment of his/ her property. This, however, does not mean he can start a band and cause widespread upset by his 2am practise sessions. Neighbour law is based on reasonableness and tries to find a balance between opposing property rights. Your neighbour may therefore only use and enjoy his property to the extent that it does not infringe YOUR right to use and enjoy YOUR property. Remember that one cannot be oversensitive and all factors are taken into account when you apply for an interdict against your neighbour. An interdict can force someone to do something, prohibit someone from doing something or force someone to continue doing something.


2.       That new faulty washing machine. The Consumer Protection Act awards goods an implied warranty of 6 months. According to section 56 of the Act, a Consumer may ask for a repair/ replacement or refund at no cost to the consumer should a defect occur within the first 6 months. Where to complain: contact your hero or contact

3.       School fees. Previously schools could only sue the custodian parent (parent with whom the child stays) for arrear school fees. Only after the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling in Fish Hoek Primary School v GW 2010, can the other biological parent be held liable for arrear school fees. How to claim an increase in child maintenance: contact your hero or visit the Maintenance Division of the Magistrate’s Court and ask for the relevant forms.


4.       Aging parents. It is true that an aging parent can claim maintenance from his/ her independent children. The parents would have to prove their expenses, that they are unable to support themselves and that the child is in a position to support his/her parent. How to claim: contact your hero or visit the Maintenance Division of the Magistrate’s Court and ask for the relevant forms.


5.       Domestic workers. A Domestic Worker MUST be provided with an employment contract and a pay slip. The employer must safe keep pay slips for THREE years. Impermissible deductions from your Domestic Worker’s pay include damages caused by ironing, meals provided during working time and crockery/ electrical appliances breakages. Noncompliance: the Department of Labour can send an Investigating Officer to your home and you may receive a fine. The matter could proceed to the Labour Court.


Yours faithfully,
Legal Hero

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