Paid-up court judgments for bad debt now easier to rescind

CaptureAn amendment to the law that governs how courts treat bad-debt judgments against companies and individuals makes it much easier for these to be revoked once paid up.

Finally some good news for South African companies and individuals that have been affected by court judgments for bad debt: Once paid up, bad-debt judgments will now be much easier to remove.

This comes after an amendment (Clause 14 into Section 23A of the Courts of Law Amendment Act No. 7 of 2017) to the law on how courts handle bad-debt judgments.

As of 11 March 2019, a company or consumer that has settled their bad debt no longer needs to prove to the courts that there is a sound reason for their judgments to be removed. Previously, those with bad-debt judgments against them had to follow an arduous process known as rescission of judgment, which basically means having a judgment revoked.

Rescission of judgment historically involved a lot of red tape, including a lengthy application process and solid justification, and often hefty costs – and after all of this, there was still no guarantee that the court would accept the justification provided, and consent to reversal of the judgment.

Now, a company or consumer simply needs to show that their debt – including any interest and/or costs accrued from the judgment – has been paid in full, and the related bad-debt judgment can be reversed by the court. There is also no longer need to obtain permission for reversal from the party that obtained the judgment originally.

What does the amendment mean for pbVerify customers?

As South Africa’s leading data bureau, one of pbVerify’s priorities and chief services to you, as our valued client, is to allow you to grant credit to customers with complete confidence. This is why we welcome the latest amendment to the Courts of Law Amendment Act.

If you are a business that has customers for whom you have requested bad-debt judgments, the amendment means those customers now have far more incentive to pay up their debt, as this will allow them to have the judgment against their name removed. Previously, many individuals may have shirked paying their debts, because the judgment against their name would still stand.

If you are a business that yourself has a bad-debt judgment, you can now rest assured that, after paying the relevant creditor or originator of the judgement, you can wipe your company’s bad-debt slate clean.

While there are still processes and costs involved – and some feel the move may benefit companies more than individual consumers – it has been lauded as largely beneficial for any debtor that wants to clear their credit record.

[REFERENCES]

  1. Business Insider – Bad debt judgments now easier to overturn with new rescission rules
  2. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development – Self-help guidelines for Consent Rescission of Default Judgment
  3. RNEWS – New provisions for rescissions of Paid-Up Judgements
  4. Fin24 – Rescission of judgment explained
  5. Parliament (PDF) – Portfolio Committee amendments to the Courts of Law Amendment Bill

 

pbVerify provides an easy to use, web-based system that instantly connects your business to real-time consumer and business information from the four largest credit bureaus in South Africa, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, Deeds Office and other business-critical data providers. pbVerify’s business tools enable you to instantly access current and accurate information to assist you in preventing fraud, identifying, tracing and assessing debtors, and effectively managing risk in your business at all times.

Electronic vs Digital Signatures: Defining the Difference

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electronic vs digital signatures EDITED“Electronic” and “digital” are often used as interchangeable prefixes to the word “signature” – but there are vast differences between the two.

We are all familiar with, and have at some stage in our daily goings-on, dealt with the traditional “wet-ink” signature. In today’s digitally-charged world, however, this is fast becoming obsolete as more secure, efficient means of signing documents are developed.

A signature is essentially a means of binding an individual to the contents of a document, by way of an intentional mark. It typically signifies knowledge, approval, acceptance, or obligation.

That may be common knowledge, however, the advent of the digital signature has turned the humble handwritten signature on its head, introducing a number of new (and entirely exciting) facets, including a whole new set of terminology.

A digital signature, in its base form, is a digital code created and authenticated by public key encryption, which is attached to an electronic document to verify its contents and the sender’s identity.

But, largely dependent on where you are in the world, “digital” and “electronic” are often confused – or wrongly used interchangeably – in both conversation and law. Often described in unison, digital signatures and electronic signatures individually are different technologies, have different meanings, and they carry different legal weight.

So what exactly is the difference then? Let’s demystify this once and for all…

Electronic signatures: The superficial sign

Also referred to as an “ordinary electronic signature”, an electronic signature is generally defined as “Symbols or other data in digital form (whether it be a sound, process or symbol) attached to an electronically transmitted document as verification of the sender’s intent to sign the document”.

There are many different scenarios here. An electronic signature can be as basic as a scanned image of a handwritten (wet-ink) signature that is copied onto a signed document, in Word for example. Another case of an electronic signature would be your name, typed at the end of an email.

An electronic signature can even be verbal, a simple click of a box, or drawn on a hardware device such as a signature pad.

Given the examples above, it is evident that, by the sheer nature of electronic signatures, these types of signatures are difficult to maintain, and proof of identity, security, authentication and integrity is low.

Electronic signatures do not have the ability to lock documents for editing after the signing process, nor do they carry any active verification capability. This leaves documents signed with electronic signatures wide open to fraud and repudiation.

Digital signatures: The cryptographic mark

As alluded to earlier, digital signatures involve cryptography. They are the most advanced and secure type of electronic signature, and they guarantee the contents of a message or document have not been altered in transit.

A digital signature is also referred to as an advanced or secure electronic signature. It is based on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) technology, using accredited personal X.509 digital certificates to provide the highest levels of security and universal acceptance.

These electronic signatures on steroids are created using a cryptographic operation that creates a hash-code unique to both the signer and the content, so that it cannot be copied, forged or tampered with.

This process provides strong proof of the signer’s identity, protects the data integrity of the document and provides absolute non-repudiation of signed documents.

Digital signatures can be verified without the need for any special proprietary software. Depending on the document format, the latest versions of free Adobe Reader or Microsoft Office application can verify the signature. Simply click directly on the digital signature to view the properties, signer’s identity, time and reason for signing – all of which are embedded in the document.

When a digital signature is applied to a document, a digital certificate is attached to the data being signed into one unique fingerprint, including cryptographic credentials.

That said, it is obvious digital signatures would carry far more legal weight and be preferable should security be even a slight concern.

In a nutshell, you could say electronic signatures verify documents, whereas digital signatures secure documents.

* SigniFlow only utilises Digital signature technology. Every signature on a document signed with SigniFlow is a Digital signature that carries the unique cryptographic credentials of the signer.

[REFERENCES]  

  1. za – Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, 2002
  2. Michalsons – Guide to the ECT Act in South Africa
  3. Difference Between – http://www.differencebetween.net/technology/difference-between-digital-signature-and-electronic-signature/