Standard Terms of Engagement


  1. INTRODUCTION
    Our policy requires that we enter into a representation agreement with you and this letter serves to confirm the terms under which you have retained us.
  2. CONTACT PERSON
    Either Anneke Whelan or Michelle Schoeman will be the contact person in respect of your matter(s) and will be assisted by additional members of staff as and when the need arises.
  3. FEES AND COSTS

    Due to the nature of the professional services required we are unable to provide you with an accurate estimate of the fees and costs which you may expect to incur during the course of our representation.

    Our fees are based on an hourly rate in respect of the legal practitioners who work on your case from time to time. Notwithstanding any tariffs as prescribed, you will be liable for payment of our fees and costs based on our applicable hourly rates at the time. Where possible, we will provide an estimate on a lump sum basis for sections of the work to be undertaken on your behalf.

    Time spent on your matters will include all consultations and any travelling, if required, taking instructions, legal research, drafting preliminary comments, opinions, correspondence, agreements and other documentation, reviewing and commenting on documentation and legislation, drafting instructions to counsel, attending court, serving and filing documentation and making and receiving telephone calls and emails.

    Our current hourly rates, exclusive of VAT, are available upon request, and will depend upon the nature of matter.

    If your instructions require us to work outside normal business hours or on weekends and public holidays, we reserve the right to increase our hourly rates. Our hourly rates are reviewed annually in March of each year and will increase taking into inflation and other cost component increases.

  4. DISBURSEMENTS

    You agree to pay all costs which we incur in our representation of you, including costs of sheriffs, correspondent legal practitioners, counsel, experts witness and any other fees and/or costs that we incur on your behalf.

    You are furthermore liable for all costs incurred by us in respect of telephone calls, faxes, copying of documents and travel expenses. Substantial costs, such as air travel expenses and the briefing of counsel will generally be referred to you for your prior approval and you will be asked in those circumstances to make payment in advance thereof.

  5. ACCOUNTS AND DEPOSITS

    We will bill you for our fees and disbursements on a monthly basis and our invoices are payable on presentation. This will enable you to track the fees continually, to raise any issues timeously and to ensure that you have made sufficient provision for the costs.

    In the event that any invoices rendered by us are not paid within 30-days after date thereof, then interest at the legal rate of 10% will accrue on a daily basis on the amount due from date of invoice until paid. Failure to pay an invoice timeously may lead to all work being suspended pending receipt of payment of such invoice.

    Our policy requires that we receive a deposit from clients prior to commencing work and for this reason we may, from time to time, ask that you deposit in our trust account sufficient to cover our likely fees and costs as and when they are to be incurred. We are obliged to pay counsel’s invoices on 60-days from date of invoice irrespective of whether you have placed us in funds to do so or not. It is for this reason that we are required to ensure that adequate cover is always in place. Failure to pay a deposit when asked for a deposit may lead to all work being suspended pending receipt of payment of such deposit.

    You agree that we may hold as security for the payment of our fees and costs hereunder all papers, files, documents and records or other personal property supplied by you to us or generated by us in representing you, and all judgments, settlements and amounts due or to become due concerning matters in which we have acted as your representative, whether or not we continue representing you. You furthermore agree that we may draw against any such monies held by us for the payment of our fees and costs which have been accrued in terms hereof.

    All deposits are to be paid into our trust account, the details of which is available upon request.

    You hereby irrevocably mandate us to debit money held in trust for our fees and disbursements incurred for any of your matters that we may be handling for you, either directly or indirectly or for any of the companies, trusts or other corporate entities associated with you.

    We will never send you an email advising you of any change of our banking details. Any such email is an attempt to defraud you by inducing you to make payment to a fraudulent bank account. If you receive notice informing you of a change in our banking details, immediately notify us and refrain from making a deposit until you have verified our bank account details, telephonically and in person with either Anneke Whelan or Chantal Harris.

  6. RESPONSIBILITY OF CLIENT REPRESENTATIVE
    In order to assist us in performing the services requested of us, you will be responsible for cooperating fully with us in our work, by providing us with instructions timeously and with all relevant information in order for us to carry out our mandate properly. You also warrant to us that you are properly authorised to represent any corporate entity and/or trust and/or third party who you purport to represent. Notwithstanding this warranty we reserve the right to call upon you to provide proof of such authority should this become necessary.
  7. CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

    Legal practitioners are prohibited from representing conflicting interests, except with the informed consent of all parties concerned.

    Because we represent many clients, situations can arise (when least expected) at the commencement of a matter or during proceedings in which our firm finds itself in a conflict situation.

    As a result, we may become prohibited from representing you in your matters and will be obliged to withdraw as your legal practitioner of record. We will take all reasonable steps to resolve any conflicts should they arise but whether a conflict of interest arises or not or whether we are able to continue acting for you as your legal practitioners will be determined by us in our sole discretion.

    Should we be obliged to withdraw as your legal practitioner we undertake to take all reasonable steps to find you alternative legal representation and to assist in the handover of your files to your new legal practitioner.

  8. FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER ACT (FICA) -&- KNOW-YOUR-CLIENT (KYC)

    After completing work on any of your matters you are free to collect your file/(s) of paper from us.

    Whilst we will retain your papers for a period of time (as prescribed by the rules of the Legal Practice Council which is currently 7 years) we cannot be held liable should any of your papers and documents go missing or be mislaid. We therefore stress that it is your responsibility of ensuring that at all times you have a full and complete set of all your files and documents and where necessary the original of such documents.

  9. FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE CENTER ACT (FICA) -&- KNOW-YOUR-CLIENT (KYC)

    You undertake to provide us, from time to time, with all such information and supporting documentation as we may be obliged to provide in terms of legislation (i.e. the Financial Intelligence Centre Act No. 38 of 2001).

    You consent to us disclosing any such information provided by you in terms of 9.1 of the Act as may be required in terms of legislation.

  10. TERMINATION OF MANDATE

    We have the right to withdraw as your legal practitioners at any time in the event of your non-cooperation, non-payment of our accounts or for any reason that places us in an ethical position which would make our continued representation of you inappropriate.

    You are at liberty to terminate our mandate as your legal practitioners should you so wish. Upon termination you will be entitled to the immediate return of all funds held in our trust account, less accrued fees and disbursements as of the date of the termination.
  11. THE LEGAL PRACTICE COUNCIL

    All our legal practitioners are members of the Legal Practice Council and are subject to its rules and regulations governing ethics and professional conduct. Should you consider any of our conduct to be in breach of any of those regulations we draw to your attention that you are entitled to report this to the applicable Legal Practice Council for consideration.

  12. ENTIRE AGREEMENT
    This agreement constitutes the entire agreement between us in respect of our representation of you and no amendments, modifications or additions hereto shall be of any force or effect whatsoever unless reduced to writing and signed by the parties hereto or by their duly authorised signatories.