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21 Rescission of Judgment II
20 Rescission of Judgment
19 Independence and Objectivity
18 Property lawyer or Conveyancer
17 Execution of a Judgment
16 Buying / Selling a Business
15 Small Claims Court
14 Legal things to do in 2012
13 Drunken Driving
12 Legal queries
11 Trusts – its all in the name
10 Due diligence – a basic tool in your business kit
9 Debt Collection - a professional approach
8 "I do?" – understanding the legal impact of getting married. 
7. Homes, castles and dreams
6. To sue or not to sue? Let's start with "how" to sue.
5. Knowledge helps – Wills and Administration of Deceased Estates
4. Paying it forward – pro bono support where it counts
3. Contracts - Prevention is better than cure
2. The prickly matter of legal costs
1. Success comes with small steps

Tel: 0027 (0)84 300 5763 
Fax: 086 605 8265 



The prickly matter of legal costs

Lawyers’ fees! Need we say more? Probably not, but in the spirit of informing people about the legal world, and as a source of much discontent, we thought it would be good to tackle this issue head on.

It is often difficult for clients to get clarity on what to expect in the way of fees. This may be because attorneys don’t want to talk about money and clients feel they can’t ask about it.

We will discuss different aspects of attorneys’ fees in Grey Space, but we have decided to start with the funding of court cases (litigation) and the idea that the winner in a court case gets all their legal fees back. As always there is a catch, and when considering taking someone to Court, knowing about this catch will help you make an informed decision.

As a point of departure, you cannot rely on the possibility of winning for the funding of your case. This is because:

1) it takes a long time before a case gets to trial and judgment is granted awarding costs;

2) the Court Tariff, which is used to calculate costs, is lower than most attorneys’ fees; and

3) recovering the costs from the losing party can take a long time.
We deal with each point in more detail below.

First, it can take months for a case to be resolved. The legal system allows time for both parties to set out their dispute in detail and prepare arguments before getting to Court. Most attorneys can’t work for free for that time and then only be paid out of the costs recovered.

Secondly, the Court’s costs order is based on a Tariff which is part of the Rules of Court. The Court does not order that your attorney’s invoices be paid. Your costs are paid in terms of the Tariff, which sets out the amount that can be charged for everything done during the case. This is one of the reasons why your lawyer should record every single action that was taken on your case!

As an example, the Tariff allows R7.00 for each page your attorney examined as part of your case. If your attorney charged you R500.00 for examining a 10 page contract, you can only claim R70.00 in terms of the Tariff.

Finally, once (and if) you have won your case, you have to recover your costs from the losing side. To assume that winning will result in a quick payment is often a mistake. They might appeal the judgment, dispute the costs, have no means to pay, or have their assets, which could be sold to cover your costs, tied up in a variety of ways.

Therefore, when considering taking someone to Court, make sure that your attorney
explains the process to you including being frank about the costs implications.

Please visit our website to see how we can help you, or contact us to discuss any matters where you think our advice might assist you.

From the team.
With Energy and with Experience, giving you Expression


Contact details:
Email:        Tel: 0027 (0)84 300 5763        Fax: 086 605 8265        Web:
43 Balfour Road, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700 / PO Box 15298, Vlaeberg, 8018, South Africa

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