SCA opens door to late suit

Organisation: Position: Deadline Date: Location:

The Supreme Court of Appeal has paved the way for the [b]Cameron Malcolm[/b] (26) to take his case to the High Court after he wasexposed to hepatitis B at the [b]Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital[/b] in Cape Town as a six-year-old, reports [s]The Times[/s]. According to court papers, the hospital failed ‘to treat (Malcolm) with that degree of skill and care reasonably expected from a public hospital’ and it ‘failed to provide a contamination-free environment’. The issue in court involved the Prescription Act and because he was a minor at the time of the incident, he had to wait until he was 21 to launch proceedings. However, the age of majority was changed to 18 by the Children’s Act, which came into effect in 2007. He made his claim in 2008. The counsel for the provincial government argued that he had a year from the Act coming into force to lodge his claim but did not and, the lawyers say, his claim expired. The SCA disagreed, ruing that, if there is potential disability for claimants in the change in the law, ‘they are entitled to the benefit of the presumption that the change in law does not apply to their situation’.

The Times
Judgment on SAFLII

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