AA - 2019

Author:  Justin Hamers – STBB
30 July 2019

ONE WRONG DOES NOT JUSTIFY ANOTHER  

It is a well-established principle of our law that you may not take the law into your own hands. A landlord, for example, may not simply change the locks to premises rented in a dispute with the non-paying tenant; or a landowner change the codes to an electronic gate giving his neighbour access to a servitude road in a disagreement about the terms of use of the road.

In such instances, the mandament van spolie, or spoliation action, affords the person deprived of possession otherwise than through a legal process, the opportunity to apply to Court to have the property returned to him, without the Court looking at the merits of the case at that stage. All the plaintiff needs prove is that it was in peaceful and undisturbed possession of property and was deprived of that possession.

For recent case law where these principles were applied, see here or contact our offices on info@stbb.co.za should you require assistance.