FROM: The Registrar, Supreme Court of Appeal
Please note that the media summary is for the benefit of the media and does not form part of the judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal
V&A WATERFRONT PROPERTIES (Pty) LTD v HELICOPTER & MARINE SERVICES (Pty) LTD
When the Civil Aviation Authority issued an order grounding a veteran Vietnam war helicopter, the owner, Helicopter and Marine Services, and the Huey Extreme Club which flew it, indicated they would ignore the order. The aircraft was operated out of a Cape Town waterfront helipad leased to Helicopter & Marine by V&A Waterfront Properties. V&A applied in the Cape High Court for an order restraining use of the helicopter from the helipad till the grounding order was lifted. It relied on terms of the lease which required Helicopter & Marine to comply with rules and regulations which either governed use of the aircraft or which affected the operation of Helicopter & Marine’s business. The High Court dismissed the application, holding that V&A had failed to show that the helicopter was unairworthy and a risk to life or property. On appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal the court held that the grounding order stood until uplifted or set aside by a review court. The threatened use of the helicopter in conflict with the grounding order was in law a threat to invade V&A’s clear right to stop illicit operation of the craft at the premises. As no other ordinary legal remedy except an interdict could protect V&A’s rights the High Court application ought to have succeeded. In finding for V&A that all the requirements for an interdict had been met, the Supreme Court of Appeal explained that it was unnecessary in the circumstances for V&A to prove that the helicopter was unairworthy.