Opinions on South African law of delict

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The South African law of delict engages primarily with "the circumstances in which one person can claim compensation from another for harm that has been suffered." JC Van der Walt and Rob Midgley define a delict "in general terms [...] as a civil wrong," and more narrowly as "wrongful and blameworthy conduct which causes harm to a person." Importantly, however, the civil wrong must be an actionable one, resulting in liability on the part of the wrongdoer or tortfeasor.

The delictual inquiry "is in fact a loss-allocation exercise, the principles and rules of which are set out in the law of delict." The classic remedy for a delict is compensation: a claim of damages for the harm caused. If this harm takes the form of patrimonial loss, one uses the Aquilian action; if pain and suffering associated with bodily injury, a separate action arises, similar to the Aquilian action but of Germanic origin; finally, if the harm takes the form of injury to a personality interest (an injuria), the claim is made in terms of the actio injuriarum.


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