Justin graduated from Stellenbosch University with a BCom Law in 2009 and an LLB in 2011. His specialisations include Commercial Litigation; Alternate Dispute Resolution; Construction Disputes; Property Related Litigation; Collections. Magistrates’ Court, High Court and Appeal Court Litigation. Property related litigation, including title deed restriction disputes, sale and lease related disputes, alternate dispute resolution (Consumer Protection Act and Rental Housing Act), evictions. Collections, including banking law and bridging finance. Commercial litigation, including National Credit Act, Housing Consumers Protection Measures Act, Customs and Excise Act, insolvency and contractual disputes. Construction disputes, including litigating on behalf of contractors and employers arising out of the JBCC Building Agreements and bespoke construction law agreements. Justin has published various articles and both published on LexisNexis Property Law Digest: Rouwkoop – a common misconception, LexisNexis Property Law Digest Vol 22 Part 1 March 2018 and The effect on the CPA on cancelling a residential lease, LexisNexis Property Law Digest Vol 22 Part 2 June 2018.

Thought of the Week | Can I Change My Mind After Signing A Contract?

John is eager to secure accommodation at university for his daughter and concludes a lease agreement for a flat near campus. Before commencement of the academic year, she has a change of heart and decides to pursue studies at a different institution. What are John’s rights?

While it happens that a contracting party’s needs may change after entering into a contract, it may be very difficult for John to resile from that commitment. The point of departure is that a party may be held to the agreement for the duration thereof, alternatively his/her request to resile therefrom (referred to as a repudiation or anticipatory breach) may be accepted by the innocent party, subject to the innocent party’s rights to claim damages as a result thereof.

The agreement itself may, in certain circumstances, come to John’s aid. This may take the form of a rouwkoop clause, or cancellation by notice; however, these “outs” are normally linked to a fee payable to the innocent party. Certain legislation, such as the CPA and NCA, has also introduced “cooling-off” periods which allow John to walk away (when applicable) within a short time after concluding the agreement. These are deemed to form part of a specific set of agreements; however, these “cooling-off” rights have very limited application and need to be considered before concluding agreements.

Whatever the reason that you may wish to get out of a contract or are faced with a situation where another party seeks to resile from a contract concluded with you, your first port of call should be to communicate with your attorney for assistance.

Contact STBB for assistance on www.stbb.co.za.