August 2017


Organisations work best when people with different backgrounds and multiple points of view are brought together. Baker McKenzie's lawyers are citizens of 72 countries and speak more than 80 languages, from Farsi and French to Japanese and Javanese. With offices in 47 countries, diversity has been part of the firm's foundation from the very beginning. Today, its global community comprises people of every race, creed, colour, religion and sexual orientation, as well as those with physical disabilities. Nearly 40% of its 3 800 lawyers are women. In South Africa, 61% of its staff are female. Diversity and inclusion are in the firm's DNA.

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As a student I was taught about a generation of women before me who said, "Within' abafazi, within' imbokodo'" – you strike a woman, you strike a rock. These women contributed to the changes that led to a legislative landscape that will never again allow South African females to be viewed as inferior in the eyes of the law. The right to equality, not only being a moral right, but also one of the founding values of our constitutional democracy, is one of the main reasons I became a lawyer. Filled with a sense of hope, and the entitlement to be proud of being female due to the constitutional and legislative preclusion of gender discrimination, fortified in my view that I would never have to ascribe to archaic patriarchal assertions of what a woman should be, I entered the corporate world, bright eyed and optimistic.... and then I stepped onto a mine for the first time.

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Although more and more women are entering formal employment, it appears that many women still do not take charge of their personal financial well-being, especially when they are in a marriage or relationship. Financial well-being covers a broad spectrum of issues, but here are a few basic tips.

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I cannot remember the moment at which I could say that on such and such a day I woke up and decided that I wanted to be a lawyer; probably because there never was such a big moment with a sudden epiphany. In fact, the more likely an answer that is closer to the truth is that law chose me.

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"The fact that women nurse and sew and wait at canteens is no indication of their capacity for the legal profession. If there is one calling in the world for which women are conspicuously unfitted it is the law...women have no idea of relevance, analogy or evidence." (The Nineteenth Century and After (Legal Publication) as quoted in The South African Law Journal 333 1917

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Woman of the Month: Udoka Akwiwu Women in law August 2017

Legal Counsel & Company Secretary for Siemens, Sub-Saharan Africa

Tell us about your background:

I studied law at university during what I would call the commencement of the decline of the once robust Nigerian educational system. Unfortunately the Nigerian government had failed to invest in this sector – a total decline of infrastructure, no payment of emoluments and benefits, and a failure to equip the system through training on new technology and global developments. This yielded regular strikes by the university lecturers whenever there was a deadlock in the negotiations, which happened at least twice a year during my studies. I had a legal education that made me have doubts on whether I was sufficiently trained to battle with my peers post-graduation.

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Wealth tax – good idea or grasping at straws? Tax August 2017

The premise behind the Davis Tax Committee's call for submissions on possible wealth taxes appears to be the notion that the wealthy in South Africa (whoever they may be) are not taxed sufficiently and that, as a result, financial inequality continues to exist at alarming levels.

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For better or worse, in death and taxes Tax International Law August 2017

Many people are unaware of the financial implications on the event of their death. The deceased estate has to be wound up and, in that process, the estate becomes liable for certain taxes and statutory mandatory fees. The taxes and estate duties were established by legislature years ago and were tailored to be most relevant to the norms of society at that time. It is important that legislation regulating "death taxes" is current and relevant.

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Costs in pursuing constitutional rights: Who is liable? Constitutional Law August 2017

The Constitutional Court handed down a judgment on a costs order granted by a high court against a non-profit organisation litigating in pursuit of constitutional rights in the case Limpopo Legal Solutions and Others v Vhembe District Municipality and Others [2017] ZACC 14.

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Understanding our constitutional democracy Constitutional Law August 2017

President Jacob Zuma has lashed out at opposition parties for continuously challenging government decisions in court, saying it goes against his understanding of democracy.

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Heavenly coffee Platteland Perspective August 2017

Fights over restraint of trade are among the most common issues heard by the labour dispute system. It is such an everyday occurrence for the courts to deal with the intricacies of restraint of trade that when I read a decision in which the judge spoke of "the most unusual circumstances" under which the dispute arose, I was intrigued. Then I discovered that it probably all came down to a cup of out-of-this-world coffee.

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Tales from the US of A... - August 2017 International August 2017

Supreme Court overturns provocation rule that expanded police liability

A provocation rule developed by a US Circuit Court of Appeals held that police who use force not deemed excessive may nonetheless be liable if they provoked the victim to respond in a way that makes officers reasonably fear for their safety. The rule was held to provide an unsupported path to liability and was held incompatible with the court's excessive force jurisprudence. The police burst into a shack without a warrant and without knocking. A man inside the shack had a BB gun to kill rats and was holding it when the officers entered. Both officers opened fire seriously wounding the man and his pregnant companion. Plaintiffs still, therefore, have to show excessive force to succeed in a damages claim arising from police violence. - Debra Cassens Weiss May 30

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The World in July - August 2017 International August 2017

Jane Austen will be the new face of the £10 note. The Bank of England unveiled the final design for the bank note which bears the likeness of the novelist. The new £10 notes are made from a plastic material that should last longer than traditional paper notes, and will exit the washing machine in one piece. It will enter circulation in September and is timed to mark the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death.

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National News - August 2017 National News August 2017

Baker McKenzie

Promotions: Partner: The firm announced 80 partnership pro- motions. This brings the total num- ber of partners worldwide to nearly 1 600, over 400 of whom are women – the most of any law firm. Nearly 40% or 31 of the new promotions are women. In Johannesburg 61% of employees are women.

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aftertaste - Trizanne signature wines Lifestyle - Wine August 2017

On graduating with a viticulture and oenology degree from Stellenbosch, Trizanne Barnard completed a few vintages in Australia, France and Portugal before joining the winemaking team at Klein Constantia. After spending four years at Anwilka wines, she launched Trizanne Signature Wines (TSW) in 2008.

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