Delictual Liability for Negligent Interference with a Contractual Relationship – Minister for Safety and Security v Scott
Journal of Contemporary Roman-Dutch Law, Vol. 78, p. 162-169, 2015
8 Pages Posted: 15 Aug 2015
Date Written: February 13, 2015
It has always been controversial whether the negligent interference with a contractual relationship can also found the Aquilian action. In Shell and BP SA Petroleum Refineries (Pty) Ltd v Osborne Panama SA 1980 3 SA 653 (D) the court was in principle willing to grant the actio legis Aquiliae in a case where the interference with a contractual relationship consisted of aggravating a contractual obligation. The claim, however, failed as a result of the absence of a legal duty – and consequently wrongfulness – as against the plaintiff. Also in Dantex Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd v Brenner 1989 1 SA 390 (A) 395 there was not an outright rejection of the possibility of liability for the negligent interference with a contractual relationship; instead, the Appellate Division left the question concerning such a possibility open (see also Lanco Engineering CC v Aris Box Manufacturers (Pty) Ltd 1993 4 SA 378 (D) 380-381). In AB Ventures Ltd v Siemens Ltd 2011 4 SA 614 (SCA) the Supreme Court of Appeal also dealt with the negligent interference with a contractual relationship, albeit not by name, where the contractual obligations of a contracting party were increased. However, the claim was dismissed for lack of wrongfulness on the part of the defendant. Liability for negligent interference with a contractual relationship was also at issue in the case under discussion.
Keywords: contract, delict, negligent interference with contractual relationship
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