Parol evidence is evidence pertaining to the agreement that isn't included in a written contract. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in South Africa was recently tasked with considering the long established Parol Evidence Rule in the case of Mike Ness Agencies CC v Lourensford Fruit Company (Pty) Ltd. We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. The court held that this was not what the agreement provided and to find that there was such a guarantee in the agreement would breach the Parol Evidence Rule. Please enter the email address that you used to register on Polity.org.za. Although at first glance it appears as though this rule is trite, parties often ignore it in proceedings, and rely instead on evidence which would, according to the Parol Evidence Rule, be … Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Contracts are not entered into with the view of breaching the agreement or ending it. The court referred to a previous decision, where the SCA held "In other words: when a jural act is embodied in a single memorial, all other utterances of the parties on that topic are legally immaterial for the purposes of determining what are the terms of their act.”. For example, clerical or typographical errors found in the written agreement may be changed because the incorrect term does not represent the true agreement between the parties. . This rule provides that where the parties to a contract have reduced their agreement to writing, it becomes the exclusive memorial of the transaction, and no evidence may be led to prove its terms other than the document itself, nor may the contents of the document be contradicted, altered, added to or varied by oral evidence. In Affirmative Portfolios CC v Transnet Ltd t/a Metrorail, the SCA held that where an agreement is partly written and partly oral, then the Parol Evidence Rule prevents the admission only of extrinsic evidence to contradict or vary the written portion, without precluding proof of the additional or supplemental oral agreement, which is often referred to as the Partial Integration Rule. To conclude, as a general rule, the parol evidence rule does not allow a party to a written contract to adduce extrinsic evidence that alters, contradicts, varies or adds to the contract. The parol evidence rule: A South African perspective .      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE. The parol evidence rule was received into South African law through English law. Implications of the parol evidence rule on the interpretation and drafting of contracts in South Africa . “Interpretation is a matter of law and not a matter of fact and, accordingly, interpretation is a matter for the court and not for witnesses”.4 If the contract is able to clearly and unambiguously define the terms of the contract, the court will interpret those terms according to the contract. http://thebusinessprofessor.com/exceptions-to-the-parol-evidence-rule/ What are Exceptions to the Parol Evidence Rule? The respondent attempted, however unsuccessfully, to overcome the Parol Evidence Rule by arguing that the agreement was partly in writing and partly oral. There are many exceptions to the integration rule. The court noted, with dissatisfaction, that often the Parol Evidence Rule tends to be ignored and seldom enforced by trial courts. When faced with a situation where one party to an agreement attempts to rely on certain verbal undertakings outside the confines of the written agreement, the South African courts are guided by the parol evidence rule. The court went on further to hold that the phrase “No Water No Pay” was clearly inconsistent with the contention that a guarantee as to the minimum amount of water existed in the contract. Nature and Contractual Obligation The purpose of a contract is to establish the agreement that the parties have made and to fix their rights and duties in accordance with that agreement. (0.055 seconds) The Magistrates Court, being the court of first instance, held that the appellant’s claim against the respondent succeeded. Notes: See also Wigmore, J.H., Evidence, 3rd ed. Contracts are entered into with the view of profiting or benefitting by this agreement. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in South Africa was recently tasked with considering the long established Parol Evidence Rule in the case of … The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) in South Africa was recently tasked with considering the long established Parol Evidence Rule in the case of Mike Ness Agencies CC v Lourensford Fruit Company (Pty) Ltd. If the contract is not a meeting of the minds then the terms and conditions do not correctly reflect their intention. The parol evidence rule applies to all written contracts whether it was stated in the contract or not. In this case, the appellant (Mike Ness) gave the respondent (Lourensford) a written quotation to drill a borehole for one of his Western Cape farms. Evidence in South African Legal Proceedings: A Comparative Perspective is my own work and that it has not been submitted before for any degree or examination in any other university, and that all sources I have used or quoted have been indicated and acknowledged as complete references. As President Ford heralded "a brighter future for almost all the men and women of our … The divergence from the strict application of the parol evidence rule towards a more liberal and practical approach to interpretation, which includes surrounding and background circumstances, as well as the conduct of the parties in implementing … There is no suggestion by the deponent in the present case that she was under any misapprehension as to what was recorded in each of the documents at the time she signed them. The Parol Evidence Rule, Industrials, Manufacturing & Transportation. It bars a party to a written contract from bringing up outside evidence that illustrates an ambiguity, seeks to clarify, or adds to the written terms of the agreement. Although at first glance it appears as though this rule is trite, parties often ignore it in proceedings, and rely instead on evidence which would, according to the Parol Evidence Rule, be … Although at first glance it appears as though this rule is trite,… If a document was intended to provide a complete memorial of a jural act, extrinsic evidence may not contradict, add to or modify its meaning (Johnson v Leal1980 (3) SA 927 (A) at 943B). By Susanna Johanna Van Breda. Signed: _____ Gert van Tonder . . Second, interpretation is a matter of law and not of fact and, … The rule excludes the admission of parol evidence. This may cause unfairness to the opposite side of the party. The respondent was not prepared to pay the appellant until it was shown that water had been found. This was largely as a result of judicial influence, as most of the country’s best judges in the early years of the (then) Union of South Africa (and even before) which was established in 1910, were educated in England. Yet, despite the borehole yielding a healthy amount of water, the respondent refused to pay the appellant the agreed contract price. In terms of the integration rule, the written agreement is the “exclusive memorial” of the agreement between the parties.1 The written agreement contains all the express terms of the contract and as such “the contents of the document [may not be] contradicted, altered, added to or varied by parol evidence”.2 It was recently held in the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) that “a court may not admit evidence as to what the parties intended it to mean if that has the effect of changing the terms of which they clearly agreed [in writing]”.3. To determine 4th ed 1989, 293 5 Delmas Milling Co Ltd v Du Plessis 1955 ( ). 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