Plain Language

The Consumer Protection Act 68 of 2008 (the CPA) provides that all contracts with consumers must be in plain language. When it comes to terms and conditions, disclaimers, warranties and other contracts this is a foreign concept for many legal practitioners. Now it has become a fact of legal life.

We can assist you to ensure that your marketing material and contractual documents are in plain language while also ensuring that you have all the necessary contractual protection that you need.

We have also developed a franchise agreement which not only complies with the plain language requirement, but also complies with all the other requirements which the CPA places on franchise agreements.

We collaborate with the Unit for Document Design at the Stellenbosch University Language Centre. The Unit has a strong scientific foundation in plain language drafting and document design. With them we can develop a tailor-made solution to ensure that your documents are professional and consumer friendly. We provide the following services with the Unit:

  • Training in plain language.
  • Critical analysis of documentation.
  • Reader-focused usability testing.
  • Design or redesign of documentation (especially forms).
  • Editing and translation of documentation into various languages.

Go to the Stellenbosch University Language Centre website for more information.

Protection of Personal Information Act published

The Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) No. 4 of 2013 has finanally been published in the Government Gazette. This means that the POPI is now an Act of Parliament (and so a law of South Africa) but no commencement date has been published yet. The commencement date is a short notice in the Government Gazette as which is signed by the President of South Africa. In terms of s114 of POPI all companies will have 1 year after the commencement date to ensure that they comply with the requirements of POPI.


Rethinking privacy policies

Increasingly, I find it very difficult to see the point of overly legalistic privacy policies normally hidden behind a tiny link at the bottom of a webpage. The reason for this increased concern is of course the Protection of Personal Information Bill and the duties which it places on businesses who use (or for that matter just collect or store) personal information.

Plain Language finally makes it to the High Court

I wrote this blog for Siber Ink who will be publishing my book on Consumer Law early next year.

The Durban High Court recently came to the aid of a consumer who had purchased a defective vehicle financed by Standard Bank. Mr Dlamini returned the vehicle to the dealership where he had bought it, because it malfunctioned within days of purchasing it. He asked the dealer for his refund and cancelled (or so he thought) the finance agreement.

Standard Bank loses case for failure to use plain language

The judgment in Standard Bank v Dlamini is good news for all plain language practitioners. Finally we have some case law to back the consumer's right to plain language given in terms of the NCA and the CPA.

Without giving the game away too much (I will be analysing the case in the November edition of the Consumer Law Review), here are the highlights:


Subscribe to Plain LanguageSubscribe to RSS Feed