Unless otherwise agreed in writing in respect of our engagement as the attorneys of a client in current and in future matters, the following terms of engagement will apply.
The Email and Website terms are deemed to be incorporated herein.
THE PARTIES AGREE AS FOLLOW:
1. PROFESSIONAL DUTY
1.1 The Practitioner shall during the execution of the matter and in the fulfilment of his/her professional duty, rely on you to provide the Practitioner with all the necessary instructions and to inform the Practitioner immediately if there are any changes relevant to the circumstances.
1.2 The Practitioner is free, insofar as his/her ethical duties allow, to act on behalf of any other client. The Practitioner shall consult with you in the event that the Practitioner becomes aware of any other new instructions that the Practitioner received and which may conflict with your current instructions. Where a conflict of interests prevents the Practitioner to proceed to act on your behalf, the Practitioner shall assist you in obtaining alternative legal representation, if required.
1.3 The Practitioner shall not disclose any privileged information or knowledge which has been obtained by the Practitioner while acting on your behalf to any other client. Similarly the Practitioner shall not disclose any privileged information to you which the Practitioner obtained while acting on behalf of another client.
1.3 Our duty of care shall be to you and no other persons. Before any other person may act on our advice our express agreement must first be obtained in writing. As our advice is to you this advice may not be disclosed to any other person without us agreeing to same in writing.
2. FEES AND DISBURSEMENTS
2.1 We are willing to consider various methods of charging fees and are flexible in this regard. You accept responsibility for and shall pay the Practitioner his/her fees for services rendered on the agreed tariffs, as well as the VAT thereon as set out in the schedule below and disbursements which were incurred in execution of the abovementioned mandate.
2.2 You confirm that the different tariffs of the Law Society, Magistrate Court and High Court were explained to you by the Practitioner and that you bear knowledge thereof.
2.3 The Practitioner’s tariffs for fees, unless differently specified, is based on the guide-lines of the Law Society of the Cape of Good Hope as from time to time published, which tariffs are higher than the Magistrate- and High Court tariffs and to which the client hereby expressly consents to.
2.4 The tariffs will escalate annually at the rate of 10% per annum on the 1st day of March of the year after which the client concluded the agreement.
2.5 Expenses incurred by the Practitioner on your behalf (including but not limited to loans, finance charges, interest, levies and handling charges, the costs of copying, printing, telephone calls, telefaxes, electronic post, speed post as well as amounts paid on behalf of he client to an advocate, sheriff, expert, other interested 3rd party etc.) will be payable additional to fees.
2.6 The Practitioner may have your bill of cost taxed by a capable taxing master with reasonable notice to all interest parties of the date of taxation. The Attorney-and-Client bill of cost will be taxed on the basis of tariffs as discussed with you. The Practitioner retains the right to request payment for costs as determined during taxation if such amount, as determined, exceeds the Practitioner’s original statement of account.
3.1 We generally render interim accounts for fees on a monthly basis while work is in progress with a final account on completion. The account of the Practitioner is due and payable on presentation with the clear understanding that expenditures incurred by the Practitioner, as set out in clause 2.5, will be payable against the prescribed interest rate(s) in terms of the Act, calculated from the date that the expenditure(s) was incurred by the Practitioner. The Practitioner retains the right to charge interest at a rate of 9% per annum or as specifically amended from time to time, on any outstanding and arrear amounts, excluding expenditures.
3.2 The Practitioner is entitled to request a deposit upon the acceptance of the mandate from you and also to request additional deposits from time to time.
3.3 The Practitioner may utilise the deposit paid to him/her by you, wholly or partially, to cover any payments due by you either during or upon the termination of the period of mandate.
3.4 You hereby, irrevocably authorize the Practitioner to claim back any fees and/or expenses payable, or any portion thereof from any funds belonging to the client as held in a trust account.
3.5 In providing legal services to you, you hereby authorise us to incur disbursements on your account.
3.6 Unless otherwise specified, we may at our discretion engage advocates on your behalf.
4.1 Each client is allocated to a director. You are at all times welcome to contact the director in respect of any matter, even if he or she is not directly personally involved in a particular matter.
4.2 Unless you specify otherwise, the directors will determine which lawyer(s) is to attend to a particular matter. It fits our business model, where appropriate, to have legal work done at a lower hourly rate (rather than a higher); and to avoid unnecessary duplication of cost.
5. FEE ESTIMATES
5.1 We gladly provide fee estimates on request. Estimates are a guide to assist you in budgeting, and are not a definitive quotation, unless this is specifically agreed in writing.
5.2 If the actual fee is less than a fee estimate, we charge the actual fee. If a fee estimate transpires to have been too low, we’ll advise you timeously.
6.1 In providing our services we rely upon information and instructions provided by you without independent verification. It is vital that you make us aware of anything that may affect our services. We will also be relying upon the accurateness and completeness of all information that is available from public sources and information that may be furnished to us on your behalf or at your request by third parties.
7. LEGAL SYSTEM
7.1 Our relationship with you is governed by South African law.
7.2 We are only qualified to practice South African law. However, we are on occasion called upon to express a view on foreign law and documents governed by foreign law, and to prepare documents to be governed by foreign law. If we do assist you in relation to a matter governed by foreign law, such assistance does not constitute legal advice; and we do so on the basis we do not accept responsibility in relation to your position under that foreign law, or otherwise. We advise you to obtain legal advice from a legal practitioner duly admitted to practice law in the relevant jurisdiction.
8. FILES AND DOCUMENTS
8.1 You authorize us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for any matter (other than any documents that we hold in safe custody for you) as permitted under law.
9.1 You may terminate our engagement by written notice to us at any time, but will remain liable for fees and disbursements incurred prior to termination.
9.2 We may terminate our engagement by written notice to you at any time, if circumstances arise which render it unsuitable for us to continue.
9.3 However, our experience is that we form enduring relationships.
10. LIMITATION AND LIABILITY
10.1 We hold professional indemnity insurance.
10.2 In respect of any engagement, our liability of whatsoever nature to you will be limited to the amount recoverable under our professional indemnity insurance.
10.3 We will not be liable to you if we are unable to perform our services as a result of any cause beyond our reasonable control. In the event of any such occurrence affecting us we’ll notify you as soon as reasonably practicable.
11.1 We support alternative dispute resolution.
11.2 In the unlikely event of a dispute (of whatsoever nature) arising from or in connection with our engagement, the following will apply.
11.3 We’ll promptly engage with you to procure mediation. If mediation is not viable or is unsuccessful, the dispute will be determined by arbitration in accordance with the rules of the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa, by an arbitrator or arbitrators nominated by it, and such arbitration will take place in Cape Town.
12. SECTION 78(2)(A) INVESTMENTS
12.1 You hereby authorize the Practitioner to invest any proceeds, or any portion thereof on the client’s behalf in terms of Section 78(2)(A).
12.2 The Practitioner will be entitled to charge a fee at a rate of between 1% and 3% per annum, calculated on the total interest. If funds are invested in the client’s trust account on the client’s behalf in terms of Section 78(2)(A). The above-mentioned fee is calculated upon final settlement to the client of all funds held on the client’s behalf in a trust account.
13. STANDARD HOURLY RATES
All hourly rates are exclusive of value-added tax.
Nic Barnaschone: R2000.00 p/h
Gabriella Pacitti: R1600.00 p/h
2nd year Candidate Attorneys: R850.00
1st year Candidate Attorneys: R600.00
Barnaschone Incorporated trading as Barnaschone Attorneys, a personal liability company, regulated under the Attorneys Act 53 of 1979.
Registration number 2012/052728/21
VAT number 4160261410
Registered address:Office 203, Soho-on-Strand, 128 Strand Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town 8001