PAY OUT ON MY SIGNATURE’S SAY-SO IN THE ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION ERA
Global & Local Investments Advisors (Pty) Ltd v Fouché (71/2019)  ZASCA 08 (18 March 2020)
This matter deals with a financial services provider that wrongly paid out client funds after it received an email, thought to be from the client, to this effect. The email appeared legitimate and the client “signed” it each time with “Regards Nick”, and other salutations to that effect. The question for determination was whether this constituted a “signature” as required in the mandate between the parties and as understood in the Electronic Transactions and Communications Act. The Court found that in these circumstances it did not. The reasoning why is important, to distinguish it from instances where similar email communications would be considered to bear the “signature” of each of the parties in the communication.
The Judgment can be viewed here.
COVID-19 AND SUPERVENING IMPOSSIBILITY
Much has been written in the past few weeks on the effect of unanticipated occurrences on contractual obligations to perform. Here follows a brief discussion of the principle of supervening impossibility and some of the important case law that are relevant in the context.