A straightforward implementation of the ‘but for[2]‘ test in most situations would address the problem of cause in tort law i.e., ‘but for the conduct of the defendant, will the complainant have sustained the loss? None of them, except the industrial psychologist, indicated that the plaintiff had told them about the fall on 8 October 2015. Liability of the Minister of Police for unscrupulous conduct of his officials, The impact of the EU Regulations on fiduciary advice in South Africa. This fact had become part of the factual matrix the court had to consider in determining the plaintiff’s quantum of damages. General Principles of Criminal Law (CRW2601) Uploaded by. Author: Webber Attorneys Publication Date: 03 November 2020. The fact that the plaintiff sustained further injuries almost three years after the motor vehicle accident was peculiarly within her knowledge. Such an assessment necessitates an analysis of the most important rules pertaining to causation in South African criminal law. a Doctor has an obligation to treat a patient. Who takes the blame? One can only assume that she did not mention it to the orthopaedic surgeon. Hart and A.M. Honore in their book entitled Causation in Law [1], which was first published in 1959. Author: Webbers Attorneys Publication Date: 03 November 2020. The result was that all the plaintiff’s experts took the injuries she sustained in the fall from the stairs into account when compiling their reports and forming their opinions. In this way, the injuries would not be regarded as a new intervening act. If there are more than one possible cause of death then the Novus actus interveniens theory is used to find the legal causation also read notes above. Likewise, A had no intention of shattering the glass in the frame. Barrister Austin Okeke Writes From South Africa. ‘Novus Actus Interveniens’ Raphael Powell, M.A., B.C.L., Current Legal Problems, Volume 4, Issue 1. The suspicions aroused by the autopsy, together with the observations of other medical experts who had seen T, led to further investigations and the charges which the appellant faced in the court a quo. “an act is a condictio sine qua non for a situation if the act cannot be thought away without the situation if the act cannot be thought away without the situation disappearing at the same time The court asks whether the result would still … Firstly, the plaintiffs’ counsel submitted that the defendant’s entire argument on this score stemmed from one passage in the industrial psychologist’s medico-legal report. [4] Jeremty Horder & Andrew Ashworth, Principles of Criminal Law 104 (7th ed. [11] Dr Fourie conceded that the injury to the liver could, Webbers Attorneys in Bloemfontein has been providing a comprehensive range of legal services since 1906 and is one of the oldest law firms in the Free State. She consulted the industrial psychologist on 4 November 2015; a neurosurgeon on 3 November 2015; a plastic surgeon on 13 November 2015; an occupational therapist on 14 November 2015; a neuropsychologist on 3 June 2016 and the educational psychologist on 22 February 2017. a novus actus interveniens (new intervening cause) is: ( an independent, unconnected and extraneous factor or event ( which is not foreseeable ( which causes or actively contributes to the occurrence of the damage ( after the defendant’s original conduct has occurred. novus actus interveniens. The storm was deemed to be a novus actus interveniens, and so the claim was based on a mistaken reading of causation. Novus actus interveniens in third-party claims Van der Merwe v RAF (GP) (unreported case no 42358/15, 16-3-2018) (Ranchod J) By Tshepo Mashile Novus actus interveniens is a Latin legal phrase, which describes an important principle in criminal […] It is necessary to ensure that when evaluating cases relating to tortious damages, there have been no subsequent actions that may have severed the causal chain with respect to liability. Reflections on the Novus Actus Interveniens. the cause of death then there is a novus actus interveniens. 2017/2018 As stumbling, B slams into a glass window until it shatters. Absence of novus actus interveniens . For contrast, here’s yet another example; A hits B, and B loses his equilibrium as a result. Causation includes two distinct inquiries – factual and legal. 3.5 NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS. DP McCormac appeared for the Crown, and John Morris for the accused. In the court’s view the above submissions could not be sustained. Novus actus interveniens is a Latin term which means a new intervening act. Secondly, the argument went, the defendant’s counsel had failed to cross-examine the plaintiff and her two experts hence the defendant could not raise the issue of a novus actus interveniens. Novus actus interveniens is Latin for a "new intervening act". A category of interfering acts still exists, not those taken by the complainant himself or any third party, but acts attributed to nature itself sometimes referred to as “acts of God”. The experts should have, therefore, been briefed of the fact that the plaintiff had fallen down the stairs in order to enable them to exclude these injuries from their opinions. A, for instance, drops a cigarette butt at the side of the forest in the trees. The onus was on the plaintiff to prove these two allegations. 280. Breaking the chain (or novus actus interveniens, literally new intervening act) refers in English law to the idea that causal connections are deemed to finish. By failing to disclose that there are injuries which she sustained when she fell down the stairs (a fact which was always within her knowledge) the plaintiff gave the experts the impression that all the injuries she presented with were caused by the accident and they, therefore, treated all injuries as such. In this case, what was … Author: High Court of South Africa Publication Date: 18 November 2020. Negligent loss of a firearm: A dilemma for the state? [11] Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v. Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL), [12] Knightly v. Johns [1982] 1 WLR 349, [1982] 1 All ER 851. The same can be said about her visits to the other experts. With regards to tortious claims, Novus actus is a diverse instrument that can often be used as part of one’s evaluation of a lawsuit. Her legal representatives were of the view that it was not necessary for her to testify at the trial as the trial related to the quantum of damages only. The Captain on the barge wanted to search for a port to safeguard the ship from sinking and the barge without any error on the part of the Captain and his crew members and because of the unavailability of the required navigational equipment, the ship suffered an accident due to the effect of the ship on the seabed or waterway side (ship grounding) that destroyed the ship. Even if the defendant can be shown to have acted negligently, there will be no liability if some new intervening act breaks the chain of causation between that negligence and the loss or damage sustained by the claimant a novus actus may be brought about by the conduct of the plaintiff, by the conduct of a third party or by natural factors - eg wind or rain remember: if a reasonable person would have foreseen the novus actus, or where the intervention was caused by the wrongdoer’s own conduct, such event is not considered to be a novus actus interveniens The forest fire is not the fault of A; it is the action of B that triggered the forest fire. The argument was dismissed by the judges, and so the claimant was found liable only for damages resulting from the first collision, not the subsequent damage to the storm. A short summary on the South African Criminal Law, with detailed descriptions of each crucial term. If not, the defendant is accountable. [10] The City of Lincon, (1816) 1 Stark 492. These directions were passed by the respondent to his partner, who irresponsibly left them on the floor of the company’s office. POSSIBLE DEFENCE: NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS This is a new intervening act which is an independent event, which after the wrongdoer’s act has been concluded, either caused or contributed to the consequences concerned. [8] Weld-Blundell v. Stephens, [1920] UKHL 646. Whereat the time of the initial misconduct, the resulting occurrence was fairly probable, it is not to be called a novus actus capable of restricting the responsibility to be apportioned to the original wrongdoer. Your email address will not be published. In the Law of Delict, 6th Edition, Neethling notes that a novus actus interveniens is an individual occurrence that either induced or led to the outcome involved after the wrongdoer’s act was ended. Alternatively, that the court should grant absolution from the instance. Politics 0 Comments. The South African approach to causation issues seems to be very similar to the one in this country. A novus actus thus disrupts the “directness” element of the original act and it is difficult to satisfy the arbitrary test of legal causation[5]. Quick Reference [Latin: a new intervening act (or cause)] An act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings and therefore relieves the defendant from responsibility for these happenings. Webbers Attorneys. It was agreed by both parties and arranged that she testify via Skype as she was in New Zealand. 280. The Black Law Dictionary defines it as an intervening cause. Criminal law, Murder, Causation, Novus actus interveniens, Proximate cause: R v Mubila is an important case in South African and Zimbabwean criminal law, heard on August 17, 1955, in which the accused was charged with murder. Barrister Austin Okeke Writes From South Africa. The South African Journal, 76 S African L. J. A complainant who fell down a flight of stairs argued that the injuries he sustained were attributed to his bosses, as one of his legs had unexpectedly gone numb due to an earlier workplace accident for which they were responsible, resulting in the crash. Causation typically consists of two components that decide whether a person should be held responsible for the harm incurred to another party or not — Factual cause and legitimate causation. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia R v Motomane, is an important case in South African criminal law, heard on February 3, 1961, with significance especially for the question of the novus actus interveniens. South African COVID-19 Corona Virus. Whereas a novus actus is an individual act that happens after the event that causes damage, such as when a passenger is hospitalised following a collision with a motor car and sustains additional hospital injury. Reflections on the Novus Actus Interveniens. The new event relieves the defendant from responsibility for the happenings. Kotze PJ "Die Wet op Verdeling van Skadevergoeding, No 34 van 1956" 1956 THRHR 186-196 . The defendant was, however, of the view that she should be available to testify. In the latter example, B has no intention of smashing the window, but because of A’s deed, he forced the window glass to shatter. Collecting Maintenance in Hard Times – Threaten Jail Time. Novus actus interveniens is a Latin legal phrase, which describes an important principle in criminal and civil procedure in as far as causation and liability is concerned. Meanwhile, in addition to him having no intention of shattering it, B’s act of breaking the window glass is carried out. There was no cross-examination of the plaintiff or the two experts by defendant’s counsel and the plaintiff closed her case. Novus actus interveniens is a Latin term which means a new intervening act. Novus actus interveniens is characterized as an occurrence that happens in a series between the initial event and the outcome, thus altering the normal course of events that might have linked a wrongful act to an accident. In the case of an omission, there must be a legal obligation to act. The Latin words of novus actus interveniens (subsequent intervening event) recognise that something may happen after an accident which breaks the chain of causation, that is, an act of a third party, a natural event or an act by the plaintiff. o Novus actus interveniens - applicable law discussed. She was a passenger in a motor vehicle, which slid backwards on an embankment, capsized and rolled over her. Loosely translated it means ‘new intervening act’. The instances of novus actus interveniens, while applicable to all instances of delict, are very often seen in cases of medical malpractice where the malpractice is the secondary intervening act. novus actus interveniens. 2017/2018 Much store was put on the defendant’s failure to cross-examine the plaintiff and her two witnesses. The complainant must prove that the loss they sustained was caused by the defendant in order to show causation in tort law. rise (in South Africa) up to 10 per cent per year. 2. Learn how your comment data is processed. LUCID INTERVAL OR NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS. The aim of this article is to assess the validity and applicability of medical negligence as a novus actus interveniens, </i> with reference to recent South African criminal case law. LUCID INTERVAL refers to a brief period during which an insane person regains sanity that is sufficient to regain the legal capacity to contract and to act on his or her own … Causation refers to the enquiry as to whether the defendant's conduct (or omission) caused the harm or damage.Causation must be established in all result crimes. Without being an ingredient of the partnership with A, he was exploiting the situation and triggering a storm. It appeared that she had been to an orthopaedic surgeon on 13 November 2015 about three weeks after she fell on 8 October 2015, yet no mention was made of the fall to him. Where there is no full responsibility for the interfering actor. Access the latest information on: Retired Senior Magistrate, Louis Radyn, highlights some of the challenges a court may face in the prosecution of in…, To prove or not to prove? This, argued counsel for the defendant, constituted a novus actus interveniens for which the defendant could not be held liable as far as the injuries the plaintiff sustained in the fall were concerned. E.g. An unusual example is McKew v. Holland & Hannen & Cubitts (Scotland) Ltd[13]. The Latin terminology of novus actus interveniens or nova causa interveniens is characterised as the action of an independent third party. It was her testimony that her hip was causing her great discomfort and that she had been unemployed due to the injuries she sustained in the accident. The court was unable to determine the plaintiff’s quantum in respect of the injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident on 27 October 2012 and ordered an absolution from the instance of the plaintiff’s claim with costs. If there are more than one possible cause of death then the Novus actus interveniens theory is used to find the legal causation also read notes above. of Delict: A Reappraisal in Anticipation of New Legislation on the Apportionment of Loss" 2004 THRHR 409-425 . Thus, only B and not A may be assigned to an aspect of malicious intent (mens rea). 2. The legal profession’s focus on the future, An overview of the Protection of Personal Information Act. After the crash, the steering compass, maps and other methods used for guiding the ship were lost. It is an act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings. University. Initial wrongdoers who wish to show that their fault is limited or non-existent and can be imputed to another party also use novus actus as a shield. Van der Merwe v RAF (GP) (unreported case no 42358/15, 16-3-2018) (Ranchod J). [1] Hart, H.L.A., & Honore, A. M. (1959). If a complainant who has sustained a minor leg fracture due to the negligence of the defendant tries to leap from a roof, breaking their leg, it is an example of a voluntary human action[6] that may sever the chain of causation for negligence. An example is Knightly v. Johns[12], where the incompetence of a police officer when directing traffic after a road collision negated the motorist’s responsibility whose carelessness culminated in the initial accident. [13] McKew v. Holland & Hannen & Cubitts (Scotland) Ltd [1969] 3 All ER 1621 (HL), 8 KIR 921. Does a customary law marriage nullify further marriages entered into with a different spouse? University of South Africa. Its significance lies particularly in the area of legal causation. The new event relieves the defendant from responsibility for the happenings. The Court of Appeal ruled that the decision of the Captain to hunt for a safety port was a fair move that did not break the causal chain and was attributable to the accident that prompted the Captain to take the decision and resulted in the ship’s grounding. A novus actus interveniens, or nova causa interveniens is an abnormal, intervening act or event, judged according to the standards of general human experience, which serves to break the chain of causation: see South African Criminal Law and Procedure, vol. Criminal Procedure in South Africa: The Commentary on the Criminal Procedure Act. Def. But by presenting all the injuries as if they are caused by the accident, the plaintiff was misleading the experts and, therefore, her claim cannot be said to have been properly quantified because she has failed to show that all the injuries are accident related. The aforesaid reasoning is so because the experts should be able to say that the plaintiff fell because of the injuries sustained in the accident. 2013). In the case of an omission, there must be a legal obligation to act. It is an act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings. The textbook references are to the South African Criminal Law and Procedure by P M A Hunt - Volume 2. A novus actus interveniens has the purpose of restricting the liability of a defendant and can also be a valuable instrument when determining claimants for damages. B is not an instrument of A in this situation, and A has not instructed or recommended B to spill fuel on the cigarette butt to burn the tree, it is merely an act of B’s own initiative. The suspicions aroused by the autopsy, together with the observations of other medical experts who had seen T, led to further investigations and the charges which the appellant faced in the court a quo. The plaintiff carries the burden to prove causation and where the plaintiff has sustained further injuries after the accident there is a secondary burden on the plaintiff to prove that the causation of such injuries does not interrupt the causation of all the injuries that the plaintiff presents with. An example of a causally independent event that may sever the chain of causation for negligence might be when an asteroid is hit from space in the same leg by a plaintiff that has sustained a minor leg fracture due to the negligence of the defendant. The dilemmas and … How does the Law Society of South Africa fulfil its functions? Such an assessment necessitates an analysis of the most important rules pertaining to causation in South African criminal law. Kotze 1956 THRHR . Where more than one potential cause occurs, correlation can be troublesome. The defendant could not have been expected to do anything about that. University of South Africa. The defendant did not have to call any witnesses to prove the novus actus – the plaintiff had to do so. Knobel JC "Novus Actus Interveniens and Causation in the Law . [6] Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL). Grant extracts and collate s the principles that can sometimes be complex, in a way that allows for a clear understanding of the current law. The instances of novus actus interveniens, while applicable to all instances of delict, are very often seen in cases of medical malpractice where the malpractice is the secondary intervening act. The plaintiff proved all the orthopaedic injuries contained in the expert reports, including the two injuries constituting the novus actus by confirming them in her testimony at the trial and the admission of such evidence by the defendant when it admitted the content of the expert reports. Get the latest business insights from Dun & Bradstreet. Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL). Module. Tshepo Mashile LLB (UL) is an attorney at Mkhonto and Ngwenya Inc in Pretoria. It appears to us, having considered the general response given by insurers in South Africa to policyholders, that many insurers hold a contrary view to the policyholders. Meanwhile, A had no intention of burning the forest in the case mentioned in this paragraph, while B purposefully poured gasoline over the cigarette butt that ignited the fire. Law of Torts; Notes, Case Laws And Study Material, Pigeon Hole Theory – Salmond’s Theory of Law of Torts, Relevancy of Motive in Tortious Liability, Essentials of the Law of Torts | Explained, National Online Seminar On Elimination of Violence Against Women: Issues and Solutions | UILS, Panjab University, International Mediation Training Program | Jagran Lakecity University, JOB: Joint General Manager [Legal] at IRFC-Indian Railway Finance Corporation | Apply before 14 Jan. LL.M. This article provides an insightful analysis of novus actus interveniens and its various aspects. Therefore, in order to ensure that all the facts are before you when reviewing a matter, it is important that thorough inquiries are conducted. The South African Journal, 76 S African L. J. Human behaviour that should be fairly treated as voluntary; or. She was on holiday in South Africa when she was injured in the accident. The intervening act must be such that it is not inevitable or planned, however in some situations, where the intervening act is a ‘free deliberate and informed act’ by another agent, notwithstanding the effect being an intended consequence, the original causation breaks[4]. 280. In the Law of Delict 6th Edition, Neethling states that a novus actus interveniens is "an independent event which, after the wrongdoer's act has been concluded either caused or contributed to the consequence concerned". The appellant was only entitled to recover negligible damages in the present action. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL). ‘Novus Actus Interveniens’ Raphael Powell, M.A., B.C.L., Current Legal Problems, Volume 4, Issue 1. General Principles of Criminal Law (CRW2601) Uploaded by. Regulation 35(4) of the Pension Funds Act regulations is declared invalid and unenforceable, Pauperien liability: Strict liability reigns supreme again, Employment law update – Unfair dismissal referred to CCMA when pending automatically unfair dismissal claim in the Labour Court, Employment law update – Resigning after disciplinary inquiry but before sanction handed down and Labour Court’s jurisdiction to hear a claim for unlawful dismissal, Recent articles and research – December 2020, Electoral reform – constitutionality of the Electoral Act. Are tenants being robbed of their rental deposits? A third party’s voluntary human intervention may also break the chain of causation. In this video series we're going through some of the most common legal terms that find their origins in the langugage of Latin. LUCID INTERVAL refers to a brief period during which an insane person regains sanity that is sufficient to regain the legal capacity to contract and to act on his or her own behalf. Weld-Blundell v. Stephens, [1920] UKHL 646. [2] This expression means "new intervening event", and is used to indicate that between X's initial act and the ultimate death of Y, another event has taken place and has broken the chain of causation thus preventing us from regarding X's act as the cause of Y's death. Not each interfering act, however, counts as Novus actus interveniens. LUCID INTERVAL OR NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS November 13, 2018 LUCID INTERVAL OR A NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS “Buhari and El Rufai in Focus “ 13th November 2018. Such an assessment necessitates an analysis of the most important rules pertaining to causation in South African criminal law. She stated that she would like to study and work in the future, but was not able to do so due to the injuries. The aim of this article is to assess the validity and applicability of medical negligence as a novus actus interveniens, with reference to recent South African criminal case law. In this case, what was at issue was a criminal act by a third party. It is an act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings. A short summary on the South African Criminal Law, with detailed descriptions of each crucial term. In brief, it may be assumed that the action of A provides credence or commitment to the shattering of the glass of the window. Dylan Florence. Reflections on the Novus Actus Interveniens The South African Journal, 76 S African L. Jan 1959; P Q R Boberg; P.Q.R. However, the House of Lords ruled that while probably unavoidable, the claimant’s own act of descending the stairs without waiting for the support that was available broke the causal connection between his fall and the initial industrial accident. We can say in this situation that A caused B to lose his balance and crack the glass of the window, but we can’t say that A shattered the glass of the window. Reflections on the Novus Actus Interveniens. Where the defendant has knowingly procured the intervening act. However, even if it was shown that the wrongful act was the sine qua non of the loss, it does not necessarily result in legal liability. novus actus interveniens. of Delict: A Reappraisal in Anticipation of New Legislation on the Apportionment of Loss" 2004 THRHR 409-425 . To assist the courts and legal profession, in medico-legal issues, helping the parties where the plaintiff has the burden of proof and the defendant for rebuttal, a medical expert witness must be used. If some event intervened and is abnormal, then it serves to break the chain of causation. Where a simple reflex or spontaneous action is the intervening act. It was also concluded that the Captain’s decision to follow one of the routes would not sever the causal chain.[10]. In the Law of Delict, 6th Edition, Neethling notes that a novus actus interveniens is an individual occurrence that either induced or led to the outcome … Loubser et al Delict The crime may be the act of the perpetrator, a third party’s act, or an act of god. Quick Reference [Latin: a new intervening act (or cause)] An act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings and therefore relieves the defendant from responsibility for these happenings. Not possible to blame 100 per cent of a for the happenings provincial Attorneys ’ association, CV for! Two distinct inquiries – factual and legal agreed by both parties presented their arguments them the... Times – Threaten Jail time act or event that occurred accidentally and is abnormal, it... Area of legal causation argued that De Reuck five ship were lost injured party ’ s voluntary human intervention also... 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