The appointment of curators is a daily occurrence in our courts and in particular in the North and South Gauteng High Courts where the proliferation of personal injury matters has made such appointments common place. On the other hand, in matrimonial matters it is not utilised enough to safeguard the interests of minor children, where such interests form the very dispute between parents (by inference we refer to any lawful guardian as well) and require that an independent person takes cognisance of the child’s wishes, which interests, however, may not always be sufficiently protected by an overworked family advocate.

A short summary of the different bases for the appointment of curators is detailed herein, together with an exposition of the law regulating the appointment of curators and the duties and responsibilities that rest on such curators by law or by inference.

The law

A number of writers who contributed to the Roman Dutch law from which curators
originate are referred to in Ex Parte Hill 1970 (3) 411 (SA) by Van Winsen J such as Kaser Roman Private Law (Dannenburg’s trans) 2nd ed para 64 (iii); Gaius Elements of Roman Law (Poste’s trans) 3rd ed p 138; and de Groot Introduction 1.11.2.