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Although Judge Farlam's opinion was given obiter it will be treated like law, according to Charles Smith, head of property at law firm Sonnenberg Hoffman & Galombik, until someone challenges it. While Mallinicks' Mike Radomsky says the judgment will be "persuasive" in future cases, "but only where value is significantly reduced. If you could see the sea, sand and shells before, and now you will only see the sea, you will still have to argue a case." It is enough therefore for "developers to be held to ransom by their neighbours", according to Trafalgar Group CEO Neville Schaefer.

Meanwhile a group of Cape Town developers, led by ex-lawyer David Bunce and backed by the Cape Town city council, is to ask the constitutional court for a declaratory order on Judge Farlam's obiter.

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