Factual Disputes in Urgent Matters

Posted: December 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

In Steiner Hygiene (Pty) Ltd v Brown Margaret Sterikleen (Pty) Ltd and Others the Labour Court recently in an urgent application to enforce a restraint of trade agreement referred the dispute to trial in order to determine whether Stein Hygiene had a protectable interest.


It is trite that the Labour Court found there to be urgency.  This despite it elected not to determine whether the requirements for an interim order (as per Plascon Evans Paints Ltd v Van Riebeeck Paints(Pty) Ltd 1984 (3) SA 623 (A)) was met.   In this regard it was held in National Director of Public Prosecutions v Zuma 2009 (2) SA 277 (SCA) at para 26, that ‘[m]otion proceedings, unless concerned with interim relief, are all about the resolution of legal issues based on common cause facts”.  The Labour Court specifically found that “[t]he issue of the extent of the knowledge and information which the respondents are alleged to have acquired whilst in the employment of the applicant which they could use is, in my view, fundamental to the question of the proprietary interest of the applicant and can at best be determined by oral evidence”.  There thus existed a dispute of fact and as such and on the basis of Plascon Evans the version of the applicant (read with the common cause facts averred by the respondent) should thus have prevailed for purposes of the granting of interim relief.






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