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We provide practical legal solutions which take into account our clients’ commercial reality, perspective, concerns and priorities in order to achieve their goals within their time expectations.
Our practice areas are set out below with a focus on five core sectors: aviation, commercial, franchising, litigation and labour.
Our practice offers a significant breadth of expertise in administrative law issues due to our continued exposure to this growing and complex area of the law.
Over the past few years, we have advised a major political party and corporate and private clients, gaining significant expertise in this area of law. In particular, we have advised clients in disputes relating to regulatory and legislative compliance and interpretation on issues involving state failures in protecting its citizens and acts and decisions of central and local government and public bodies, as well as in corporate governance, licensing and financial investigations by the regulatory authorities.
Our firm has acted for many of the leading media industry participants and our experience was gained and has been ongoing since the early 1990’s starting with the representation of one of South Africa’s foremost female singers and also includes the publication by our Managing Partner of South Africa’s first independent commercial legal newspaper publication, “Without Prejudice”.
We have extensive experience in drafting distribution, licensing, publishing, film finance, production and co-production treaties and agreements, and sponsorship, advertising and other event and entertainment related agreements.
We advise clients on data protection and privacy requirements and competition and antitrust issues affecting our clients’ businesses in the media sector and regularly provide advice on intellectual property rights arising from the provision of media, telecoms and technology related services and activities.
Our lawyers have recently acted for an international restaurant entrepreneur who has published a number of acclaimed cookbooks; a novelist; publishers; and an international film production and media company. In addition, we regularly advise one of South Africa’s foremost commercial art galleries and for numerous South African artists and photographers in their personal affairs, and have set up trust structures for the benefit of a number of artists. We have also dealt with the art and copyright assets of deceased artist estates.
The firm’s Aviation practice had its origins in the late 1980’s when the firm’s Managing Partner, Chris Christodoulou, read for a master’s degree in aviation law in London. He was appointed as a non-executive director of a regional airliner in 2007 where he chaired the Health & Safety Committee and served on its Audit Committee. More recently Chris served on the South African Civil Aviation Appeal Committee dealing with regulatory appeals from the decisions of the Director of Civil Aviation.
We advise clients on the negotiating, structuring and documenting of aircraft acquisitions, sales and financing arrangements. We represent companies around the globe in connection with aircraft operating, finance and lease transactions and advise private clients in their dealings with leading financial institutions.
We regularly advise clients and foreign lawyers on regulatory issues and in implementing and enforcing lease agreements, the repossession of aircraft and securing mortgage rights, particularly under the Cape Town Convention on Mobile (Aircraft) Assets .
Our particular strength lies in advising clients on aviation regulatory matters particularly in the private business jet sectors and advising pilots and aircraft operators on the operating regulations, air service licensing and other operational and insurance issues.
Company & Corporate law
The firm has a renowned record of providing advice to clients on corporate and commercial matters, particularly as to implementing the appropriate legal structures and the incorporation of private and limited liability companies, not-for-profit companies, trusts, partnerships and local branch structures for foreign holding company.
We advise on the sale, transfer and allotment of shares and the role and fiduciary duties of the directors and officers of companies and on regulatory matters such as effecting changes to a company’s constitutive documents, voluntary winding-up and entering into and dealing with Business Rescue proceedings.
We assist with post incorporation issues, the management and operation of companies and shareholder relationships and disputes.
Our newly formed competition law offering has achieved a large measure of success, having for example recently advised a listed company in a complaint to the Competition Commission against a media buying services company for anticompetitive behaviour due to price discrimination on advertising rates.
We regularly negotiate and draft agreements on the establishment of corporate structures, day to day operations and management, employment issues and most commercial agreements designed to achieve our client’s individual needs.
Contracts and agreements we draft include:
We advise on all matters concerning internet and technology law, regulatory and government regulations as well as dealing with software developers, and internet related service providers.
Our cyber lawyers regularly assist clients with:
Our private client trust and estate practice focuses on providing a discreet and tailored solution for our client’s needs, frequently crossing numerous foreign jurisdictions such as South Africa, Greece and Cyprus.
Services include the advising and drafting of wills and trusts for specific assets, including immoveable property and tightly held business interests. We advise clients on the structuring and operation of partnerships and limited liability companies to hold and accumulate assets, as well as with intra-family sales and other planning vehicles.
We administer estates and assist executors and beneficiaries in resolving issues and disputes involving inherited assets, including commercial properties, and have handled litigation necessary to verify or dispute authenticity and prosecute and defend challenges to wills and trusts.
We also draft and frequently prosecute and defend matters involving ante-nuptial marriage contracts.
Our particular expertise in this sector lies in advising clients in the provision of financial services by entities regulated by the Financial Services Conduct Authority, managing risk and compliance with key regulations such as the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act in order to ensure adherence to the regulatory requirements and developments which have a material impact on their business.
Our team of lawyers have extensive experience in the licensing regulations for Financial Services Providers, conducting due diligence investigations, producing legal opinions on regulatory matters, dealing with customer complaints and investigations by the regulator and advising regulated compliance officers.
Our commercial franchise practice involves and supports all sectors of the franchise industry in South Africa, though particularly in the food, restaurant, hospitality and leisure and related distribution systems and industries. We have successfully assisted in the establishment and management of numerous franchise brands and are especially proud to have advised a major South African restaurant franchise brand to grow and expand its network into new markets around the globe, taking with it a number of other South African brands.
Insolvency & Business Rescue
We advise clients in insolvency and liquidation issues, entering into business rescue proceedings, rescheduling and restructurings of debt and collections, administration of insolvent companies and estates, as well as on securitisation and suretyship issues and documents.
Intellectual Property Rights
We advise on all aspects of intellectual property assets on a local and international level, including the registration, protection and exploitation of trademark, design and copyright ownership and assets as well as in respect of licensing structures to optimise the protection and enforceability of rights and assets.
Mergers & Acquisitions
We regularly advise clients on the structuring and execution of the sale and acquisition of business assets and shares in companies and the related issues. For example, we recently advised a client in a share buyout from a listed company in a cross-border transaction involving a sale and purchase of shares, loan agreement, transfer of intellectual property and exchange control approvals in three continents.
Privacy & Data Protection
We advise on all aspects of the processing and transfer of personal data under the South African Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI) and provide support on compliance with the legislation and regulations in place governing the safe keeping and administration of customer, client and employee information and the management of the associated risks.
We are able to compile and draft internal policies, deal with litigation on data and security breaches, and assist clients generally in adhering to the numerous regulations and legislation affecting privacy issues.
Our head of Franchise, Alex Protulis serves on the legal and membership committee of the Franchise Association of South Africa, the major trade association for the franchise industry, and has represented franchise clients across a broad spectrum of industries, including many start-up franchise businesses.
While the majority of our clients are franchisors, we regularly represent and advise franchisees and affiliated parties such as landlords, product and other service providers to the franchise industry.
The firm has also successfully acted in asserting and defending licensing, restraint of trade, trade mark and competition law matters in the courts on behalf of our franchise clients.
Our Greek law offering is headed by George Mavrikis, a South African qualified lawyer based in Greece and the firm is closely tied to the established local firm of Themis Liakopoulos & Associates in Athens.
Our clients include local and multinational corporations in the aviation, financial, real estate, construction, travel and agriculture industries, and the services we provided usually involve the inter relationship between Greek and South African transactions, disputes, and other aspects of private international and commercial law.
We regularly advise South African attorneys, banks and individuals on the enforcement of rights and court judgments, the recovery of assets, immigration and visa, residency, passport applications, the registration of property rights, authentication and certification of documents with an Apostile under the Hague Convention, and the administration and registration of foreign wills, births, deaths, marriages and divorces in Greece.
Our labour law department headed offers an extensive range of services catering for employers and employees in enforcing and protecting employment rights across the entire labour environment.
We regularly negotiate and draft all forms of employment related contracts, company policies including Disciplinary, Privacy, Leave and COVID-19 policies and represent clients in the CCMA, Bargaining Council and Labour Courts. We also facilitate disciplinary hearings and retrenchment procedures, negotiate out of court settlements and have represented and provided employment advice to small and large corporations involving executives, unions and employee representatives.
Dispute resolution, litigation, arbitration
With a philosophy of averting litigation where this is feasible, we continually seek to obtain the best possible results for our clients.
Client communication is key to achieving these aims and together with our world renowned advocates (barristers), we work on a strategy at the inception of each dispute setting out the issues at stake and developments to allow for informed decisions throughout the process.
We advise and act on all aspects of commercial disputes arising from the performance and termination of commercial agreements and corporate relationships, including:
We advise on all types of real estate commercial transactions involving immoveable property particularly when linked to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, sale and lease, and restructuring and financial leasing deals. We recently advised a client on the restructuring of its real estate portfolio under Section 43 of the Income Tax Act.
The firm regularly represents landlords, tenants, and property managers in connection with ejectment, attachments, and repossession and all their real estate-related legal needs, including the leasing, servicing, sales and the collection of rentals and the enforcement of body corporate and home owner association rules.
Our lease offering includes lease negotiations, drafting lease agreements and sublease arrangements, assignment or lease termination, and the negotiation of sale agreements on behalf of landlords and tenants.