The Department of Mercantile Law is one of the six departments in the School of Law. The department provides training to undergraduate law students in the vital area of business law. The main objective of the department is to produce a student who will be equipped to use the law in the world of commerce or business. The department does not offer law only to law students but also to B(com) and BA(admin) students from the School of Management Sciences. These students are offered Commercial Law and Labour Law respectively. The department also periodically offers seminars to the University and local communities on labour law issues affecting employers and employees.
The department offers a wide selection of modules and these cover broad areas of mercantile law such as:
- Banking law
- Business entities
- Competition law
- Labour law
- Legal relationships created by commercial transactions
- Tax law
In line with the department’s objective the module outlined below are meant to provide the student with a strong grounding in areas of law relating to business or commerce. The modules are likely to be relevant to a law and commerce graduate whatever career they follow.
1 Advanced Labour Law (ALL 4631):
Framework of the Labour Relations Act, collective bargaining, dismissals i.e. misconduct, incapacity due to ill health, incapacity due to poor work performance. Operational requirements, strikes, lock outs and dispute resolution.
2 Banking Law (BKL 4531):
The law relating to credit cards and electronic financial transactions; the law of documentary credit; exchange control regulations; an introduction to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act of 2001; measures for the detection and prevention of money laundering; an overview of banking regulation and the role of the Reserve Bank.
3 Companies & Close Corporations (COC 2641):
This module deals with:
- The formation of a company and the commencement of business;
- the company as a legal person; types of companies;
- lifting the veil of incorporation;
- the memorandum and article of association;
- contracts entered into by a company;
- the capacity of a company;
- directors membership of a company and classification of company securities;
- the transfers of shares;
- the offering of shares to the public;
- majority rule and protection of minorities;
- the enforcement of corporate duties;
- accounting and disclosure;
- insider trading;
- compromise and arrangements;
- winding-up; and
- judicial management.
- juristic nature and formation;
- members and members’ interest;
- internal relations;
- accounting and disclosure;
- members’ liability for the corporation’s debts;
- de-registration and winding up; and
4 Commercial Law (COL 1541; COL 1641; COL 2541 & COL 2641):
Purpose: to gain introductory knowledge, research skills and competence in commercial law, for continued personal intellectual growth, gainful economic activity and valuable contribution to society. This course seeks, inter alia, to introduce non-law students to the fundamental principles relating to commercial law and to develop their understanding thereof. The significant role of the courts and their judgments is stressed without referring to specific cases. The selection of topics dealt with in the prescribed textbook and the extent of their discussion has been influenced by the syllabus for law services course of the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors and the syllabus for basic law courses of the Institute of Bankers.
On successful completion of the course, students will be able to apply the relevant general principles in commercial practice. The principles of the law of contract dealt with in this course have been simplified to make an understanding of the practical application of those principles easier. It is important for students to know how to apply those basic principles, to appreciate their consequences and to be able to identify certain basic concepts in daily as well as working life.
5 Competition Law (CPL 4631):
The course aims to provide students with an understanding of South African competition law. Both public and private aspects of competition law are addressed.
Under Public Competition Law the Competition Act 89 of 1998 is the focus and the following aspects are covered;
- Institutions and procedures set out in the Act;
- Recognised forms of unlawful competition;
- Prohibited Practices:
- Restrictive Horizontal Practices;
- Restrictive Vertical Practices;
- The Abuse of Dominance;
- Mergers and Merger Control;
- Leniency provisions;
Under Private Competition Law the common law is the major focus and the following topics are covered:
- Aquilian action;
- Recognised Forms of Unlawful Competition:
- Deception Concerning One’s Own Performance;
- Passing off;
- Misappropriation of the Advertising Value (Leaning On);
- Competition in Contravention of a Statutory Provision;
- Misappropriation of a Competitor’s Trade Secrets or Confidential Information.
- Misappropriation of a rival’s performance.
- Disparaging a rival’s enterprise, goods or services.
- Harassment of a rival’s customers, employees or suppliers.
- Instigation of a boycott against a rival.
6 Insolvency and Partnership (INP 2541):
This module deals with:
- Formation and nature;
- Partnership property and shares in the partnership;
- Relationship of the partners inter se;
- Relationship between partners and third parties;
- Dissolution and liquidation of partnerships.
- Voluntary surrender;
- Compulsory sequestration;
- Meeting of creditors and proof of claims;
- Effects of sequestration;
- The solvent spouse;
- Impeachable transactions; and
- Composition and rehabilitation.
7 International Trade Law (ITL 4531):
The aim of this module is to introduce students to International Trade Law. International Trade Law is the law which governs international commercial transactions. In this course students study it from a South African perspective. The module concentrates on Private law aspects of International Trade law, but students will also be introduced to International Business Law.
The module teaches some fundamental skills necessary to succeed as a commercial attorney specialising in international trade. Students are equipped with the skills requires to give competent advice to clients in South Africa on International Trade Law. They learn to identify and resolve legal problems one encounters in connection with international commercial transactions.
8 Labour Law (LAB 3541 & LAB 3641):
- Individual and Collective Labour Law,
- Common Law Contract of Employment,
- Labour Relations Act:
- Collective Bargaining,
- Worker participation,
- Dismissals i.e. misconduct,
- incapacity due to ill health,
- incapacity due to poor work performance and operational requirements,
- Strikes and Lock-outs and dispute resolution.
- Basic conditions of Employment Act,
- Employment Equity Act,
- Unemployment Insurance Act,
- Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act,
- Occupational Health and Safety Act, and
- Skills Development Act.
9 Sale & Lease (SAL 3541):
- Sale Distinguished from other Contracts;
- Essentialia of a Contract of Sale;
- Legal effect of a contract of sale;
- Duties of the Seller and Remedies of the Buyer;
- Duties of the Buyer and Seller’s Remedies;
- Sales Regulated by Statute; and
- Formalities in Sale of Land.
- Essentialia of the Lease Contract;
- Duration of Leases;
- Subletting, Cession and Assignment;
- Duties of the Lessor and Remedies of the Lessee;
- Duties of the Lessee and Remedies of the Lessor; and
- Termination of the Lease.
10 Tax Law (TXL 4631):
This module seeks to introduce the students to the fundamental principles relating to this area of the law and to develop their understanding in the calculation of tax payable, gross income, allowable deductions, tax avoidance and capital gains tax. This module deals with:
- Direct and indirect taxation;
- Normal tax and taxable income;
- Gross income as defined in the Income Tax Act;
- Double tax treaty; and
- The deemed source.
There is no information at present.
The following staff are attached at the department of Mercantile Law.