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Public Law

Overview

The Webber Wentzel Public Law Practice comprises a dynamic group of eight public law attorneys, supported by candidate attorneys, and is known for providing excellent service and comprehensive, in-depth legal advice to the public and the private sector.

It is almost impossible for a private citizen to live or work in South Africa without encountering some aspect of public law. The government and organs of state are constantly making decisions and implementing legislation that affects everyone's lives. It is when these decisions affect private persons' lives and businesses that public law becomes important. Equally, the principles of public law are central to the way in which the state governs and the manner in which government and organs of state make decisions. To ensure compliance with this complex area of law, the public and private sectors require the services of legal professionals with public law knowledge and experience.

Our expertise, experience and extensive range of contacts place us in a unique position to assist and represent our clients. The Practice is at the forefront of developments in constitutional law, administrative law, human rights law, public international law, health law, public finance management, municipal law, the regulation of networks, industries and markets as well as price and tariff regulation (regulatory law).

Key areas of law:

Constitutional law (including human rights law): advising on the rule of law; advising on the relationship between (and the roles of) national, provincial and local government; advising on (and litigating in relation to) fundamental rights (including the right to equality, dignity, property, trade, freedom of expression and freedom of association); advising on data protection and on pursuing access to information requests (for public and private bodies).

Administrative law: advising on decisions that must be taken lawfully, procedurally fairly and reasonably; conducting judicial reviews of decisions made by government and other organs of state; advising on the relationship between labour law and administrative law and on how decisions should be made to be insulated from judicial review.

Public procurement: advising government on appropriate procurement processes; drafting tender documentation; assisting in legal issues that arise when tenders are evaluated; representing government where tender awards are challenged; advising private sector entities on responding to government tenders, on preparing submissions and representing entities that wish to challenge or defend tender awards.

Health law: advising on the regulation of pharmaceutical prices and the prices service providers charge for their services; advising on the regulation of medical devices; advising on all aspects of health care legislation, including the Medicines and Related Substances Act, the Pharmacy Act, the Medical Schemes Act, the National Health Act, the Health Professions Act, the Allied Health Professions Act, the Nursing Act and the numerous regulations made under these pieces of legislation.

Municipal law: we have specialised in local government law since 1996. This includes advising on and litigating in all aspects relating to local government law, including municipal public transport, procurement, property rates, housing, waste management, municipal PPPs, Municipal Asset Transfer Regulations, Municipal Finance Management Act, Municipal Systems Act and Municipal Structures Act.

Regulatory law: advising on regulatory issues in a variety of industries, including land-based transport, petroleum products, gas, electricity, petroleum and gas pipelines, education, communications, skills development, gambling and tobacco.

Clean development mechanisms (CDM): we have advised various municipalities on developing CDM projects particularly in relation to Landfill Gas Projects. Our clients include City of Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, City of Tshwane and the City of Cape Town.

Privatisation and public-private partnerships: advising on public and regulatory law aspects of privatisations and public-private partnerships.

Our services include:

Opinion drafting.

Litigating: the team litigates in relation to the public law issues it advises on (it has represented clients in various high-profile cases in the High Court, Supreme Court of Appeal and the Constitutional Court). It specialises in conducting judicial reviews, applying for interdicts and declarators and other applications.

Drafting and commenting on primary and subordinate legislation (and assisting clients in relation to making submissions on this legislation as it passes through the parliamentary or regulation-making process).

Lobbying government and making submissions to Parliament regarding legislative reform.

For more information please click here to read the section on "Public Law Dispute Resolution" in Investing in South Africa.

Key Contacts
Michael
Evans
Position:
Partner, Public Law Practice Leader
Telephone:
+27 21 431 7260
Department:
Public Law
Email:
michael.evans@webberwentzel.com
Mike Evans
Glenn
Penfold
Position:
Partner
Telephone:
+27 11 530 5220
Department:
Public Law
Email:
glenn.penfold@webberwentzel.com
Glenn Penfold