‘Novus Actus Interveniens’ Raphael Powell, M.A., B.C.L., Current Legal Problems, Volume 4, Issue 1. In the teachings of causality, novus actus interveniens later evolved into one of the doctrines that were popularised by H.L.A. General Principles of Criminal Law (CRW2601) Uploaded by. Where more than one potential cause occurs, correlation can be troublesome. Politics 0 Comments. Are tenants being robbed of their rental deposits? novus actus interveniens. A short summary on the South African Criminal Law, with detailed descriptions of each crucial term. A novus actus interveniens has the purpose of restricting the liability of a defendant and can also be a valuable instrument when determining claimants for damages. In this way, the injuries would not be regarded as a new intervening act. In the latter example, B has no intention of smashing the window, but because of A’s deed, he forced the window glass to shatter. Even if the defendant can be shown to have acted negligently, there will be no liability if some new intervening act breaks the chain of causation between that negligence and the loss or damage sustained by the claimant Its significance lies particularly in the area of legal causation. Since a novus actus is an “independent” act of intervention, someone or something other than the original wrongdoer can cause it. LUCID INTERVAL OR NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS. According to this theory, an accused’s intention depends solely on his or her subjective mind.18 Culpability is regarded as The new event relieves the defendant from responsibility for the happenings. Weld-Blundell v. Stephens, [1920] UKHL 646. To assist the courts and legal profession, in medico-legal issues, helping the parties where the plaintiff has the burden of proof and the defendant for rebuttal, a medical expert witness must be used. Kotze 1956 THRHR . The intervening act must be such that it is not inevitable or planned, however in some situations, where the intervening act is a ‘free deliberate and informed act’ by another agent, notwithstanding the effect being an intended consequence, the original causation breaks[4]. The South African Journal, 76 S African L. J. [2] This expression means "new intervening event", and is used to indicate that between X's initial act and the ultimate death of Y, another event has taken place and has broken the chain of causation thus preventing us from regarding X's act as the cause of Y's death. A is also liable, though, and he should have been able to foresee the consequences of his action. The suspicions aroused by the autopsy, together with the observations of other medical experts who had seen T, led to further investigations and the charges which the appellant faced in the court a quo. At page 334: "There have been cases in America in which Y, having been injured by X, has committed suicide. Novus actus interveniens in third-party claims. The argument was dismissed by the judges, and so the claimant was found liable only for damages resulting from the first collision, not the subsequent damage to the storm. 2. In considering legal causation, a factor, among others, that is taken into account is the absence of a novus actus interveniens. Such an assessment necessitates an analysis of the most important rules pertaining to causation in South African criminal law. E.g. Kotze PJ "Die Wet op Verdeling van Skadevergoeding, No 34 van 1956" 1956 THRHR 186-196 . The Black Law Dictionary defines it as an intervening cause. Meanwhile, A had no intention of burning the forest in the case mentioned in this paragraph, while B purposefully poured gasoline over the cigarette butt that ignited the fire. Access the latest information on: Retired Senior Magistrate, Louis Radyn, highlights some of the challenges a court may face in the prosecution of in…, To prove or not to prove? Thirdly, the defendant had not raised a substantive defence of novus actus interveniens and had not adduced any evidence in that regard. Novus actus interveniens is Latin for a “new intervening act”. Novus actus interveniens dalam literatur keluarga di Jerman dikenal dengan istilah Überholende kausalität yang diartikan sebagai sebab yang kedua menyusul sebab yang pertama. Not each interfering act, however, counts as Novus actus interveniens. rise (in South Africa) up to 10 per cent per year. The defendant did not have to because it was accepted that two sets of orthopaedic injuries existed, those sustained in the motor vehicle accident and those sustained in the fall. Regulation 35(4) of the Pension Funds Act regulations is declared invalid and unenforceable, Pauperien liability: Strict liability reigns supreme again, Employment law update – Unfair dismissal referred to CCMA when pending automatically unfair dismissal claim in the Labour Court, Employment law update – Resigning after disciplinary inquiry but before sanction handed down and Labour Court’s jurisdiction to hear a claim for unlawful dismissal, Recent articles and research – December 2020, Electoral reform – constitutionality of the Electoral Act. The principle of novus actus interveniens when the victim or another person makes a ‘free, deliberate and informed’ decision is one of the most important concepts of causation. At page 334: "There have been cases in America in which Y, having been injured by X, has committed suicide. Author: Webbers Attorneys Publication Date: 03 November 2020. In this case, what was … Who takes the blame? Barrister Austin Okeke Writes From South Africa. Loubser et al Delict Novus actus interveniens: a Latin term which translates to ‘a new intervening act’. of Delict: A Reappraisal in Anticipation of New Legislation on the Apportionment of Loss" 2004 THRHR 409-425 . Where the defendant has knowingly procured the intervening act. Get the latest business insights from Dun & Bradstreet. CRW2601-south african criminal law. The legal profession’s focus on the future, An overview of the Protection of Personal Information Act. The suspicions aroused by the autopsy, together with the observations of other medical experts who had seen T, led to further investigations and the charges which the appellant faced in the court a quo. How does the Law Society of South Africa fulfil its functions? Where a simple reflex or spontaneous action is the intervening act. Will you make a will? A straightforward implementation of the ‘but for[2]‘ test in most situations would address the problem of cause in tort law i.e., ‘but for the conduct of the defendant, will the complainant have sustained the loss? The defendant was, however, of the view that she should be available to testify. Find company research, competitor information, contact details & financial data for NOVUS ACTUS CONSULTING CC of PRETORIA, Gauteng. The experts should have, therefore, been briefed of the fact that the plaintiff had fallen down the stairs in order to enable them to exclude these injuries from their opinions. If there are more than one possible cause of death then the Novus actus interveniens theory is used to find the legal causation also read notes above. Causation refers to the enquiry as to whether the defendant's conduct (or omission) caused the harm or damage.Causation must be established in all result crimes. Factual causation relates to the question whether the defendant’s wrongful act was a cause of the plaintiff’s loss, and is generally referred to as the sine qua non (‘but-for’ test), namely, what probably would have happened but for the wrongful conduct of the defendant. Novus actus interveniens occurs with such happening when the legal proceeding in the case will stand modified. a novus actus may be brought about by the conduct of the plaintiff, by the conduct of a third party or by natural factors - eg wind or rain remember: if a reasonable person would have foreseen the novus actus, or where the intervention was caused by the wrongdoer’s own conduct, such event is not considered to be a novus actus interveniens In Weld Bundell b. Stephens[8], The respondent, a chartered accountant, was hired by the appellant to examine the affairs of a corporation. The result was that all the plaintiff’s experts took the injuries she sustained in the fall from the stairs into account when compiling their reports and forming their opinions. It must be differentiated from incompetence in donations. Thus, only B and not A may be assigned to an aspect of malicious intent (mens rea). Establishment meetings for the LSSA provincial attorneys’ association, CV portal for candidate legal practitioners, Southern African Development Community Law Society. Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL). Where a novus actus interveniens severs the connection between the act and the consequence, with the result that the wrongdoers act can no longer be considered to be a … The crime may be the act of the perpetrator, a third party’s act, or an act of god. The defendant does not attract an onus to prove the novus actus as a substantial defence in these circumstances. The court was unable to determine the plaintiff’s quantum in respect of the injuries sustained in the motor vehicle accident on 27 October 2012 and ordered an absolution from the instance of the plaintiff’s claim with costs. Where a novus actus interveniens completely extinguishes the causal connection between the conduct of the wrongdoer and the consequence, with the result that the wrongdoer's act can no longer be considered to be a factual cause of the consequence, the actor obviously goes free. If not, the defendant is accountable. A category of interfering acts still exists, not those taken by the complainant himself or any third party, but acts attributed to nature itself sometimes referred to as “acts of God”. In order to decide whether or not an event or act will bear the legal weight of novus actus interveniens, any of these would usually be: The authority for this test is Haber v Walker (1963). It renders the effect way too remote. This is an ... South Africa adheres to the psychological theory of culpability. The fall and the injuries sustained were revealed for the first time in the medico-legal report of the plaintiff’s industrial psychologists dated 1 March 2017. The defendant did not have to call any witnesses to prove the novus actus – the plaintiff had to do so. If there are more than one possible cause of death then the Novus actus interveniens theory is used to find the legal causation also read notes above. THE SUPREME COURT OF APPEAL OF SOUTH AFRICA . Required fields are marked *. Liability of the Minister of Police for unscrupulous conduct of his officials, The impact of the EU Regulations on fiduciary advice in South Africa. ‘Novus Actus Interveniens’ Raphael Powell, M.A., B.C.L., Current Legal Problems, Volume 4, Issue 1. … 2017/2018 In the case of an omission, there must be a legal obligation to act. Barrister Austin Okeke Writes From South Africa. All the plaintiffs’ medico-legal reports were obtained after 8 October 2015, namely between 3 November 2015 and 1 March 2017. Only the evidentiary value of the reports was challenged. Module. [11] Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd v. Royal Norwegian Government [1952] AC 292 (HL), [12] Knightly v. Johns [1982] 1 WLR 349, [1982] 1 All ER 851. Novus actus interveniens is a Latin term which means a new intervening act. LUCID INTERVAL OR NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS November 13, 2018 LUCID INTERVAL OR A NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS “Buhari and El Rufai in Focus “ 13th November 2018. 280. Knobel JC "Novus Actus Interveniens and Causation in the Law . But by presenting all the injuries as if they are caused by the accident, the plaintiff was misleading the experts and, therefore, her claim cannot be said to have been properly quantified because she has failed to show that all the injuries are accident related. Such an assessment necessitates an analysis of the most important rules pertaining to causation in South African criminal law. Reflections on the Novus Actus Interveniens. The aim of this article is to assess the validity and applicability of medical negligence as a novus actus interveniens, with reference to recent South African criminal case law. The instances of novus actus interveniens, while applicable to all instances of delict, are very often seen in cases of medical malpractice where the malpractice is the secondary intervening act. In the case of Groenewald v. Groenewal, a complete and lengthy description of all aspects can be sought[3]. The thrust of the defendant’s argument was that the plaintiff had suffered further injuries on 8 October 2015 when she fell from some stairs and sustained injuries to her right knee and lower back. 3.5 NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS. Another British scholar, Williams, said that a prudent actor, who has a clear understanding of what he is doing and is not subject to coercion, harassment or error, will usually work to relieve the perpetrator of responsibility for a further effect of the current interfering act or novus actus interveniens. Van der Merwe v RAF (GP) (unreported case no 42358/15, 16-3-2018) (Ranchod J). The textbook references are to the South African Criminal Law and Procedure by P M A Hunt - Volume 2. University of South Africa. B immediately pours fuel into the trees, which sparks a forest fire, unbeknownst to A. The RAF admitted the correctness of the medico-legal reports from the various experts of the plaintiff. A short summary on the South African Criminal Law, with detailed descriptions of each crucial term. Such an act can be seen in the Royal Norwegian Government v. Carslogie Steamship Co Ltd[11]. Grant extracts and collate s the principles that can sometimes be complex, in a way that allows for a clear understanding of the current law. The plaintiff carries the burden to prove causation and where the plaintiff has sustained further injuries after the accident there is a secondary burden on the plaintiff to prove that the causation of such injuries does not interrupt the causation of all the injuries that the plaintiff presents with. Novus actus interveniens is an independent, intervening act which breaks the chain of causation between a negligent act and the ultimate harm. The textbook references are to the South African Criminal Law and Procedure by P M A Hunt - Volume 2. The appellant was only entitled to recover negligible damages in the present action. However, the House of Lords ruled that while probably unavoidable, the claimant’s own act of descending the stairs without waiting for the support that was available broke the causal connection between his fall and the initial industrial accident. Is it the deed of A that sparked the forest fire because he didn’t want to burn the forest down? Def. She consulted the industrial psychologist on 4 November 2015; a neurosurgeon on 3 November 2015; a plastic surgeon on 13 November 2015; an occupational therapist on 14 November 2015; a neuropsychologist on 3 June 2016 and the educational psychologist on 22 February 2017. Dylan Florence. With regards to tortious claims, Novus actus is a diverse instrument that can often be used as part of one’s evaluation of a lawsuit. The forest fire is not the fault of A; it is the action of B that triggered the forest fire. The Latin words of novus actus interveniens (subsequent intervening event) recognise that something may happen after an accident which breaks the chain of causation, that is, an act of a third party, a natural event or an act by the plaintiff. He issued written orders containing matters that were disgraceful to two company leaders. Finally, the onus of proving a novus actus rested on the defendant. Such an assessment necessitates an analysis of the most important rules pertaining to causation in South African criminal law. A novus actus thus disrupts the “directness” element of the original act and it is difficult to satisfy the arbitrary test of legal causation[5]. In the case of The City of Lincoln, there was a collision attributable to the steamers’ own liability between a steamer (whose owner is the defendant) and a barge (whose owner is the plaintiff). As I described the presupposition of this doctrine earlier: Causal chains may be sharply broken and not merely gradually diminished. Novus actus interveniens is a Latin legal phrase, which describes an important principle in criminal and civil procedure in as far as causation and liability is concerned. A successful break in the chain of causation absolves the original tortfeasor from liability for the injured party’s ultimate loss. CRW2601-south african criminal law. Academic year. She was a passenger in a motor vehicle, which slid backwards on an embankment, capsized and rolled over her. It is an act or event that breaks the causal connection between a wrong or crime committed by the defendant and subsequent happenings. POSSIBLE DEFENCE: NOVUS ACTUS INTERVENIENS This is a new intervening act which is an independent event, which after the wrongdoer’s act has been concluded, either caused or contributed to the consequences concerned. 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