Donald Dinnie

Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa Inc

South Africa
T:+27 11 685 8847
South Africa
T:+27 11 685 8847
Donald Dinnie

Donald Dinnie


Related services and key industries


Donald is a renowned litigation lawyer with a background in insurance and reinsurance law. He is highly regarded in the industry for his litigation work in insurance and reinsurance and medical malpractice and healthcare disputes.

And related product liability and recall, regulatory Advertising Standards Authority, consumer protection and class actions disputes.

He has over 30 years' experience in insurance and reinsurance litigation in South Africa, having regularly advised the major short-term insurers and reinsurers in South Africa and most of the major private hospital networks.  He also advised Lloyds and Lloyd's syndicates and international reinsurers. 

His insurance law specialisation included regulatory work and complex litigation with respect to subrogated defences and recoveries and defence work for insurers and reinsurers regarding policy response, interpretation and wording.

Donald was previously the Managing Director, then CEO of Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa and before that head of the Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa's Disputes Group before leaving to join the Natmed Group as their CEO. Donald was re-appointed as Director Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa in August 2019.

He is consistently listed in, amongst others, Chambers Global as a leading litigation lawyer; Who's Who; Insurance and Reinsurance as a leading insurance and reinsurance practitioner; and Legal 500 as a leading disputes practitioner; and was listed as Insurance Lawyer of the Year 2015 by Best Lawyers for South Africa.  

In Chambers Global 2018 Donald was listed as the sole eminent practitioner for dispute resolution, with the comment "Donald Dinnie maintains an impressive reputation in this sector for his depth of experience in a range of contentious disputes. He is particularly well regarded for his work in reinsurance and insurance."

The firm has ambitious growth plans for the African continent and Donald plays a key role in fulfilling these ambitions and ensuring that the considerable capabilities of our African practice are promoted through the business.

Donald is seen as a knowledge resource to our insurance and medical law clients.  In providing ongoing support to the insurance and healthcare industries, he frequently publishes and lectures on all aspects of insurance and medical law.

Donald is the author of the publication Understanding Medical Malpractice Insurance in South Africa as well as the conceiver and editor of Natmed's Annual Survey Medical Malpractice Judgments of 201 as well as the Natmed Medical Defence Review, the What-if series, the Ten Takeways Series and the Natmedipedia, a glossary of medical negligence and insurance terms. 

Over the years Donald has litigated in many high profile and significant medical malpractice cases including many claims regarding cerebral palsy, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) claims, orthopaedic and neurological injuries including many high quantum and complex medico-legal claims.  He was the attorney in the leading case regarding the use of disclaimer clauses in hospital contracts (Afrox Healthcare Bpk v Strydom 2002 (6) SA 21 (SCA), and the leading case on pre-action access to hospital records under PAIA (Unitas Hospital v Van Wyk and another [2006] 4 All SA 231 (SCA) and Van Wyk v Unitas Hospital and Another (Open Democratic Advice Centre AS Amicus Curiae)  2008 (2) SA 472 (CC)).\

His experience in medico-legal litigation includes working for many of the private hospital networks in South Africa including Netcare, Life Healthcare, Medi-Clinic and Clinix as well as the Eastern Cape Department of Health, a range of doctors in various specialities and the Western Cape and the South African National Blood Transfusion Services and includes representations to the relevant regulatory authorities including the South African Nursing Council and the Health Professions Council for Professionals.

Most recently he was the convenor of Norton Rose Fulbright's panel discussion on the National Health Insurance Bill on 4 September 2019 and in January 2020, "The man who couldn't die" discussion on euthanasia.  

Donald obtained his BA LLB and HDip Company Law from the University of the Witwatersrand, and CML from Unisa/UP.  He is a member of the Law Societies of the Northern Provinces, KwaZulu-Natal, and Cape Province.

Professional experience

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  • Attorney, qualified in South Africa
  • Advised RMB Structured Insurance Limited PCC, RMB Holdings Limited and RMB SI-Investments on High Court litigation in Mauritius involving a claim by Assor France and Assor Switzerland for alleged damages, loss of profits and income in respect of insurance and re-insurance negotiations allegedly cancelled in bad faith. 
  • Successfully defended action brought against a food a manufacturer by a minority shareholder claiming, inter alia, damages for breach of fiduciary duty, oppression of minority shareholder rights as well as the setting aside of certain related party transactions.  It was also alleged that there were misrepresentations in financial statements of the company. The matter was defended in the Malawi Commercial Court.
  • Advised the The Jubilee Insurance Company of Kenya Limited on the defence of High Court action Kenya regarding fire claim policy response for 1.2 billion KSHS.

18 September 2019 - Expert Evidence:

8 September 2019 - Presenting your evidence in the small claims court:

24 October 2017 - The increasing need for risk management advice by lawyers:

Donald's articles and presentations on health law and medical law issues including medical malpractice defence number in the 100s.  They can be viewed by searching inter alia Daily Maverick, Medical Brief, Med Brief, Cover, Risk Africa, Insurance Gateway and FA News, Norton Rose Fulbright Financial Institutions blog

  • English


Insurance perspective

Publication | July 01, 2021

South Africa: The “Big read book series”

Publication | May 20, 2021

Global: The effect of COVID-19 on insurance claims

Webinar | May 26, 2020