Current position: Advocate, SC
Date appointed: was conferred silk in 2016
Wanless has spent various stints acting at the Gauteng Division of the High Court since 2015.
In the 2015 matter of Georgiou v Tyres 200 (Heriotdale) Pty Limited the plaintiff was claiming payment R354 959 from the defendant after an oral agreement entered between the parties.
The plaintiff refurbished and renovated the property of the defendant and through a representative of the defendant, the defendant undertook to pay for the refurbishment.
The court had to decide whether the parties had agreed that the defendant would be reimbursed for his expenses before reimbursing the plaintiff’s costs, after which the parties would split the profit equally. The court also had to decide whether the amounts claimed as expenses by the defendant should be accepted, and whether the defendant was liable for the claimed amount by the applicants.
Wanless first dealt with the correct approach in cases where there are conflicting factual versions by considering factors including the credibility of the witnesses; the evaluation of each party’s version and whether the party bearing onus has discharged such a function.
Wanless found it improbable that the parties would have agreed to reimbursing the defendant before the plaintiff and that it was more probable the plaintiff would not have put herself at risk by agreeing to a term whereby the defendant would be reimbursed before she was.
He further found that it was an implied term of the agreement that both parties would be reimbursed their costs before sharing the profits and held that such an interpretation was one that gave business efficacy and in addition, satisfied the “officious bystander” test. The plaintiff’s claim was upheld.
Fifty-seven year-old Wanless has a BA (1983), LLB (1985) and a diploma in maritime law (1987) all from the then-University of Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal). He initially worked as a public prosecutor before joining the KwaZulu-Natal Bar in 1990 and took silk in 2016.
October 2019 Interview: