Welcome to Truter James de Ridder
Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers in Empangeni, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa.
The firm was started in Empangeni by Dudley Haines in 1956. The current senior partner Christopher James joined him in 1974 and took over the practice in 1977 when Dudley Haines retired. In 1978 Chris linked up with Heander De Ridder and Gerald Truter, two young practitioners formerly working for Frans Slabbert in both Empangeni and Richards Bay. Since 1978 the practice has operated under the name Truter James De Ridder in both Richards Bay and Empangeni.
The current partners are Chris James and Clive Kelly, who has deep roots in Zululand.
The practice has always enjoyed considerable support from both private and institutional clients and has over the years acted for the local municipalities, commercial clients and the farming community. The firm has always strived to be leaders in the legal field in Zululand and have kept abreast of changes in both national and local legislation of significance to clients.
As a practice we have always committed ourselves to make a contribution to the community, and to legal services in the Province, and apart from all partners having served on local school boards and Councils, Gerald Truter served as a Town Councillor and as Mayor of the Richards Bay for many years. Chris has served as the Chairman of the Zululand Legal Circle and committee member for several years, as a Councillor for the KwaZulu Natal Law Society for 6 years and a member of the South African Law Society Ethics Committee for 2 years. He has also served on various environmental bodies in Zululand.
The practice has always served the local agricultural sector of individual farmers, companies and financial institutions relating thereto.
Chris James has for the last 30 years been involved in advising the farming industry in relation to mortgage financing, cane supply agreements, sugar industry issues, property transactions and has in recent years had extensive dealings with the Department of Agriculture in its Land Acquisition Program. He has also advised on, and has extensive knowledge of the subdivision and development of agricultural land.
Clive Kelly has extensive experience in Magistrate and High Court litigation and more recently in land claims and is considered one of the leading land claims practitioners in KwaZulu Natal. This has involved being retained to act for sugar farming communities threatened by land claims. He has been involved in setting up proactive Land Owners Associations in various parts of KwaZulu Natal and has had remarkable success in having large tracts of commercial and agricultural land degazetted from claims. Clive also acts for land claimants who have valid claims to entitlement.
As a lot of Clive's work involves farming issues and because of his personal interest in farming, and the history of Zululand, he has an extensive knowledge of land claims issues.
Corporate & Commercial Law
Employment & Labour Law
Estates, Trusts & Wills
Civil & Criminal Litigation
Public Sector Law
Arbitration & Mediation
Profile of the Directors
The current profile of the directors of the firm are as follows:
- Chris James – BA LLB (KwaZulu Natal University) - Admitted in 1974 and subsequently admitted as a conveyancer and notary and practises as such. Chris served as a member of the Independent Mediation Service of South Africa (IMSSA) arbitration, mediation and community mediation panels, conducting several significant arbitration and mediations. He still serves on the Sugar Industry Arbitration Panel. Chris is responsible for the property law practice of the Empangeni office.
- Clive Kelly – BA LLB (KwaZulu Natal University) – Clive is responsible for the firm's litigation practice and for the extensive land claims practice which he heads up. Clive has also been involved in sports law following his keen interest in sport in which he represented Natal at rugby and was a founder member of the Zululand Rugby Academy.
CV'S of the relevant attorneys relating to the specialised field of agriculture
Clive Kelly is a director of our firm and is an admitted attorney having extensive experience in Magistrate and High Court litigation. He is considered one of the leading Land Claim lawyers in KwaZulu Natal.
On the request of landowners he set up the Pro-Active Land Owners Associations in the Izotcha / Paddock area of the KwaZulu Natal South Coast relating to the Mavundla over 26 farms.
He has been retained by Tongaat Hulett Limited to act for themselves, and for sugar farming communities threatened by land claims, including the Maidstone claim inland of Ballito where land in excess of 11 000 hectares has been subjected to land claims, the Madunga claim in the Shaka's Kraal area where an association is to be formed by him. He has also established the Kwacele Pro-Active Land Owners Association to co-ordinate the response to a claim of over 5 000 hectares, the Kersney Pro-Active Land Owners Association relating to all growers delivering to the Tongaat Hulett Darnall Mill, the Zinkwazi Pro-Active Land Owners Association and Mathonsi Pro-Active Land Owners Association dealing with claims of 10 000 hectares and 5 000 hectares of sugarcane land respectively.
Clive succeeded in having the claim against certain Mtunzini growers de-gazetted and likewise he successfully opposed the Dube claim against Umhlatuzi Valley Sugar Limited.
He has been instructed to deal with the Madlebe Tribal Authority claim dealing with farmland south of Empangeni including Empangeni town, Felixton Village and the Tongaat Hulett Sugar Mill, and the Ngwelezane Township. He has also been instructed to oppose the Obizo Community Land Claim to the west of Empangeni.
Clive represents the Zululand Rhino Reserve comprising of 25 000 hectares of prime nature reserve, in their dealings with the land claim, the Hluhluwe farming area where 73 000 hectares has been claimed, the Biyela area claim of 11 000 hectares which is close to reaching settlement and various other land owner groups
As a result of Clive's work in this area and interest in farming he has an extensive knowledge of legal issues involving the agriculture sector generally and his knowledge is not restricted to land claims alone.
Chris James has been involved in dealing with farming and agricultural interests for over 30 years in the Empangeni and Zululand area generally. He services on the Sugar Industry Bargaining Council Panel of Arbitrators dealing with issues involving sugar millers and he deals extensively with the Department of Agriculture regarding land acquisitions in the area. He has represented farmers and banks in relation to agricultural farming finance for a number of years and has extensive experience of the sugar cane industry in the local area. As an admitted conveyancer and notary he has extensive dealings in farming transactions, including the subdivision of agricultural land where interaction with land surveyors, the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Local Government and Traditional Affairs is necessitated.
035 772 1911/2/3
035 772 1372
1 Lincoln's Inn
1 Victoria Lane
7 Maxwell Street
Docex 5 Empangeni
PO Box 36
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