Standard Terms & Conditions
STANDARD TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLICABLE TO ALL CLIENT MANDATES
Be pleased to take notice that by engaging with us, you hereby specifically place on record that in terms of the provisions of the Protection of Personal information Act No. 4 of 2013 (hereinafter referred to as “POPI”) as amended from time to time, including any regulations and/or code of conduct made under the Act, you hereby consent to SL LAW processing your personal information (as defined in Chapter 1 of POPI) to the extent necessary for us to facilitate the provision of legal services to you and especially share information with suppliers and stakeholders such as estate agents, advocates, experts, financiers and other ancillary suppliers necessary to facilitate legal services to you.
The following sets out the terms and conditions on which SL LAW INC (hereinafter referred to as “we”, “us”, “the firm”, or SL LAW INC”) accept mandates from their clients and agree to carry out client instructions and regardless of whether or not you (“hereinafter referred to as “you” or “the Client”) sign a copy of these Terms and Conditions (hereinafter referred to as “terms and conditions” or “mandate”), they will be binding upon you.
This mandate will apply to your instructions given in the abovementioned matter, as more fully recorded in our accompanying engagement letter (if any).
- Unless otherwise agreed in writing beforehand:
- Our fees for attorney and client work will be calculated with reference to the time spent on your matter, for example, in consultations, telephone calls, consideration of documentation, drafting, correspondence, preparation and travel. Where we deem it appropriate, our fees may be calculated with reference to certain factors including, but not limited to, the complexity or novelty of the work done, the skilled labour, specialised knowledge and responsibility involved on the part of the fee earner, the number and importance of the documents prepared or perused, the quality of the work done, and the experience or seniority of the fee earner. Work done by any our consultants will be charged on the same basis and at such fee rates as provided for in 3 below.
- Our fees in respect of Conveyancing work such as the registration of transfers and the registration and cancellation of mortgage bonds and all related work are charged with reference to guideline tariffs published from time to time by the Legal Practice Council Western Cape subject however to certain minimum charges levied by our Firm which are available on request.
- Our fees in respect of the Administration of Deceased Estates and related work are charged with reference to tariffs published from time to time pursuant to the Administration of Estates Act 66 of 1965 but may be varied in accordance with a Testator’s specific Testamentary instructions.
- An engagement in respect of any matter requires a minimum deposit of R20 000.00, which is payable before commencement of the mandate of first consultation. No payment into our trust account should be made without first confirming our bank details telephonically with Sonette van Loggerenberg on +27 81 397 0227. In the event of payment being made without the telephonic confirmation and it transpires that the funds were intercepted by any means of cybercrime, SL LAW INC shall in no means be held responsible.
- Our bank details are as follows:
Mercantile Bank a division of Capitec Bank
SL LAW INC
Fees are not charged on a commission or contingency basis unless by prior written agreement.
- Regardless of the method of calculation, our fees will always be based on and within the guidelines set out by the Legal Practice Council Western Cape, as amended from time to time, and if you are dissatisfied with our account you will be entitled to have it taxed by the Taxing Committee of the Law Society; provided however that in such event we expressly reserve our rights to claim such higher amounts as may be allowed by the Taxing Committee.
- The hourly rate/s in respect of the fee earners carrying out any mandate for you, will be specified for Directors, Associates, Assistants, Candidate Attorneys and consultants respectively. The hourly rates applicable to this mandate will be as follows:
- Director: R 3 500.00 (ex VAT) per hour
- Associate: R 2 000.00 (ex VAT) per hour
- Candidate Attorney R 1 000.00 (ex VAT) per hour
- Consultant: R 3 500.00 (ex VAT) per hour
Where for any reason, these hourly rates are not specified, our standard hourly rates will apply.
These fees are subject to the addition of Value Added Tax. These hourly rates are, unless you are otherwise expressly advised in writing, reviewed annually in February of each year. Any increase will take place with effect from the 1st of March of the year in question. Any such annual increase will apply to your mandate automatically and without our necessarily having to advise you. You are welcome to contact us during February, should you wish to know the increase, if any, in hourly rate/s for the forthcoming year, in terms of the above. We do, however, expressly reserve the right to increase our hourly rate/s at any time within any year, but subject to our giving notice to you.
- In addition to our fees, our accounts will also include charges for disbursements and expenses such Counsel’s fees, Sheriff’s fees, travel expenditure, photocopying, fax machine and e-mail usage and special packaging, postage and petties, and the like.
- In litigation matters, it is usually not possible to give an estimate in advance of the likely costs of the matter. Insofar as any indication of our likely costs is/has been given to you, this is/has been given in good faith, and should be regarded as an estimate which is not binding on either party. Ultimately, our charges will be calculated on the basis set out in clause 1 above.
- We reserve the right from time to time to require from you payments in advance on account of our fees and disbursements. We further reserve the right to call for a deposit to be paid by you, from which we will be entitled to deduct our fees and/or disbursements and/or other charges. You will be required to bring the requested deposit up to balance on a monthly basis or within 7 (seven) days of written request by us.
- All monies held by us on your behalf are deposited into the firm’s trust account, the interest from which accrues to the Legal Practice Council Western Cape and not to ourselves. Trust monies may only be invested on your behalf in interest-bearing accounts, such interest to accrue to you, provided that we receive your express written instructions and that all requisite statutory requirements are complied with.
- You may, if you wish, set an inclusive limit on the amount of fees and disbursements that we can incur on your behalf without further reference to you, but in this event the limit shall only apply provided that we have been notified of this in writing. Should the limit expire before the end of the matter, then we shall of course have to cease acting for you unless you extend the limit in writing.
- It is our practise to render interim bills, usually on a monthly basis or at other appropriate intervals. We have found that interim billing is welcomed by most of our clients, as it assists with budgeting, keeps one alerted to costs being incurred and accords with good financial management for all those involved. Our bill is accompanied by a VAT invoice, which is computer-generated and automatically re-issued on a monthly basis until the account is settled.
- Subject to 10,2, all our accounts, whether interim or final, are payable strictly within 14 (fourteen) days of date of the VAT invoice and you will be liable to pay interest on the balance outstanding in terms of any account unpaid after the relevant fourteen-day period at the rate of 14% per annum, compounded monthly.
- In Conveyancing matters we usually require payment of fees and disbursements on demand and typically in practice, prior to registration or completion of the matter.
- In addition, we reserve the right to terminate the mandate which you have given us and in litigious matters to cause ourselves to be removed as attorneys of record, in the event of your failing to pay any account rendered within the aforementioned fourteen day period, in which event we shall be under no obligation to act further in the matter on your behalf. We also reserve the right to deduct any accrued fees, disbursements and other charges from any funds held by us in trust on your behalf or from any monies received by our firm on your behalf, regardless of the matter in terms of which, or the reason for which, these funds were received.
- In addition to the aforegoing, it is in your interests to bear in mind the following points when considering the question of legal costs:
- We do not guarantee the outcome of any matter, nor do we charge a contingency based fee, unless this be specifically agreed to in writing and provided further that this be within the applicable laws and guidelines.
- Whatever the outcome of your matter, you will be personally responsible for payment of our costs in full, regardless of any Order of Court or Agreement made against or with any other party to the proceedings.
- It is likely that should you lose a litigious matter, then you may have to pay a portion, or the whole, of your opponent’s legal costs, in addition to your own legal costs.
- Should you be successful against an opponent, the latter may not be ordered to pay anything towards your legal costs and, should he be so ordered, then under most circumstances you will not be able to recover your legal costs in full in any event.
Regard must also be had to the fact that it can happen that an opponent ordered to pay costs to you may be financially unable to do so. Should you instruct us to recover costs from any other party, then your instructions will constitute a separate mandate governed by the terms and conditions set out above and you will of course, once again, be personally liable for our charges. We reserve the right to call for payment of our account for the initial mandate at any time, subject to clause 10 above, notwithstanding your instructions to recover costs from any other party and the lengthy time periods associated with recovery of such costs.
- Should you instruct us on behalf of a trust, company, close corporation or any other entity having separate legal personality, then you shall, notwithstanding the independent legal personality of such entity, be deemed, unless prior alternative arrangements have been made in writing, to be liable in your personal capacity to SL LAW INC as surety and co- principal debtor for all our fees and disbursements incurred on behalf of the said entity. When signing on behalf of a trust, company, close corporation or any other entity having separate legal personality, a deed of suretyship must be duly executed by you and your co-directors, partners, co-members, and co-trustees or any other executives or representatives of the legal entity concerned.
- In the event that we are instructed by more than one client in the same matter then each client shall be jointly and severally liable for payment of our account in respect of that matter.
- Limitation of liability, indemnity, information provided, jurisdiction
- The maximum aggregate liability of SL LAW INC (including its directors, employees, consultants and agents) in respect of all claims, direct economic loss or damage suffered by you in connection with or arising out of this mandate, regardless of whether such damage or loss arose due to a breach of contract, in delict, in connection with anything done or not done pursuant to this mandate or our engagement letter, or any other cause without limitation, or whether it was foreseeable or known and whether this mandate is cancelled or not, will in no circumstances exceed the fees actually paid to us for the services or work contemplated in any particular instruction, unless it is finally determined that the loss or damage was caused by fraud or lawful misconduct on the part of SL LAW
- SL LAW INC (including its directors, employees, consultants and agents) shall not liable for any special, punitive, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by you (including without limitation any loss of anticipated income, profits or contracts) in connection with or arising out of this mandate, regardless of whether such damage or loss arose due to a breach of contract, in delict, in connection with anything done or not done pursuant to this mandate or our engagement letter, or any other cause without limitation, or whether it was foreseeable or known and whether this mandate is cancelled or not. The limitation of loss in this clause shall not apply in the event that it is finally determined that the special, indirect or consequential loss or damage suffered by you was due to SL LAW INC’s fraud or wilful misconduct.
- In the event of a third party making a claim against SL LAW INC for any loss or damage, whether direct or indirect, consequential or otherwise, arising from any cause in connection with this mandate (including without limitation anything done or not done pursuant to this mandate and the accompanying engagement letter, if any), whether such loss or damage results from breach of contract, delict, or any other cause without limitation, or whether it was foreseeable or known and whether this mandate is cancelled or not, you hereby indemnify SL LAW INC against such claim, unless it is finally determined that the loss or damage was caused by fraud or lawful misconduct on the part of SL LAW INC.
- Notwithstanding anything to the contrary SL LAW INC shall not be liable for any loss, damage, costs, or expenses whatsoever and howsoever caused, incurred, sustained, or arising from a failure to disclose relevant, accurate and complete information to us or from incorrect and/or incomplete information furnished to us or from misrepresentations (whether such failure, furnishing and/or misrepresentation is innocent, negligent, reckless or willful).
- This mandate (and the accompanying engagement letter, if any) is governed by South African law and any claims will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the High Court of South Africa.
- As stated above, these terms and conditions (together with the terms of any applicable engagement letter) are binding and do not require your signature, however, you are requested to sign these terms and conditions thereby acknowledging that you have received a copy and have read and understood them.
In conclusion, we would like to stress that whilst we aim to provide our clients with an efficient, effective and friendly service, we acknowledge that, in the nature of things, problems can and do arise from time to time. In these situations we would be most pleased if you would communicate with the director concerned or any other director so as to resolve the matter, with a view to continuing our working relationship with you, rather than lose you as a client.
Should you have any queries or uncertainties in regard to any of the contents hereof, please do not hesitate to raise them with us.