This document sets out the terms and conditions upon which JACQUELINE ELLIS ATTORNEYS (“JE”) agrees to act on your behalf.These terms may be varied or added to by mutual agreement in writing when your instructions are accepted by us or at any time thereafter. If you do not accept or understand these terms for any reason you should notify us in writing. In the absence of any such notice, you shall be deemed to have agreed to these terms, and shall be estopped henceforth from claiming otherwise.
JE has the accepted authority afforded to practising attorneys to act on your behalf in relation to all matters necessary or incidental to your engagement in respect of JE’s legal services. This includes authority to instruct other persons or entities to provide you with a service and/or to incur expenses, which we consider necessary or desirable for the proper conduct of the matter.
In order to discharge our professional duty, JE will throughout the handling of your matter, rely on you to supply all necessary instructions promptly and to immediately advise us of any relevant change in circumstances.
3. FEES & DISBURSEMENTS:
The basis of JE’s charges are derived from our attorney’s charge-out rate in each particular instance.This charge-out rate is based on industry norms and the guidelines of the Law Society of the Northern Provinces, as varied from time to time. Where appropriate, other factors set out in the Law Society’s regulations may be taken into account.
3.1.1. The charge-out rate of the attorney dealing with your matter is set out clearly in our Letter of Engagement to you. Jacqueline Ellis’ personal assistant/s shall also charge for time spent, on behalf of the attorney; in accordance with the indicated charge-out rate.
Disbursements incurred by JE on your behalf (including, inter alia, the costs of photocopying, printing, incoming and outgoing telephone and cellular phone calls, transmitting and receiving telefaxes and electronic mail, courier charges etc and amounts paid out on your behalf for disbursements, whether in respect of Counsel, Sheriffs and other third parties) will be charged to you in addition to our fees, which amount will be included in our invoices to you.
Should you elect to effect any payment due to us per cash. Take note that you shall be held liable for the amount deducted by the bank as bank charges, being the amount deducted from the bank, when payments are made per CASH.
Estimates of fees and expenses are given for guidance purposes only, and should under no circumstances be regarded as quotations. Please note that JE shall not be bound, in any way, by any advices construed to be an estimate of fees in respect of your matter.
Invoices will reflect fees and disbursements, exclusive of value added tax. VAT however will be charged at the rate applicable from time to time, unless our invoice specifically states to the contrary.
Interim accounts (in respect of fees and disbursements or both) may be submitted at appropriate intervals during the course of a matter, at our discretion.
In determining what is an appropriate attorney and one’s own client fee for professional services (i.e. fees rendered by us to you) we have regard to a number of factors including but not necessarily limited to the following:
the amount of work done;
the complexity of the matter or the difficulty or novelty of the work or the issues raised in executing the matter;
the skilled labour and knowledge required in relation to the matter in question;
the responsibility involved;
the importance of the documents prepared or perused without necessarily having regard to their length;
the place where, in the circumstances, the services or any part thereof were rendered;
the time expended in executing the work;
where money or property is involved, its amount or value;
the urgency of the matter;
any further attendances by Counsel, a consultant or a third party in execution of our mandate.
JE’s invoices are due and payable on presentation thereof, that is, payment of our invoices are due immediately, as sent to you, from us.We reserve the right to charge interest on any outstanding amount at a rate equal to the published prime overdraft rate of Nedbank determined on the first day of each month and debited monthly in arrear. In the event of a dispute as to such rate, a certificate by any branch manager of the said bank shall be final and binding.
JE shall have the right to appropriate from any amount held by us in trust from time to time,such amounts as may be necessary to defray disbursements incurred on your behalf or to settle any amount of fees owing to JE.
In the event of you requesting an itemized Bill of Costs in respect of our services rendered to you in pursuant with these Terms and Conditions and your mandate to us to represent you in your matter; you shall be held liable for payment of any fee to any Cost Consultant instructed by us for the drafting of such Bill of Costs and for the for the payment of a Cost Consultant appointed by us to attend any taxation thereof, held at your request, to represent JE. This liability in respect hereof shall be in addition to your liability in respect of our invoices rendered to you, as set out hereinabove.
5. MONIES HELD IN TRUST:
5.1. At the commencement of your matter, we shall obtain monies in trust from you.These are monies to be deposited in our TRUST account, in accordance with the Law Society’s Rules and Procedures. For your information, any and all interest in respect of our TRUST account is payable to the Law Society in accordance with the Attorneys Act.
5.2. Once monies deposited by you into JE’s TRUST account have been utilized and the balance in our TRUST account in respect of your matter is at a NIL balance, you will be expected to pay further monies into our TRUST account, for the continuation of your matter.JE reserves the right to immediately discontinue providing you with legal services, on your failure to pay monies requested into JE’s TRUST account. You are to make note that you shall bear the risk in respect of any consequences and/or losses that may arise out of JE’s discontinuing to act for you, pending a deposit of further monies into JE’s TRUST account, as security towards your anticipated legal fees.
5.3. On the finalization of your matter or on our termination of our mandate with you, for any reason whatsoever, we confirm that should there be monies remaining in our TRUST account, same will be reimbursed to you, provided that there are no further outstanding disbursements and/or fees etc owing to JE.
6.1. The basis of JE’s charges in relation to litigation matters is the same as that set out in paragraph 3 above. The writer’s charge-out rate is not specifically related to any tariff of fees laid down by the Law Society in relation to litigation in a court or tribunal.
6.2. If you are successful litigant in a litigation matter, you may be awarded an order for payment of your costs by another party, it should be noted in this regard that such a costs order; is
6.2.1. at the discretion of the court or tribunal;
6.2.2. you will be personally liable to us for the costs and charges due by you in terms of paragraph 3 above, regardless of any order made against your opponent in respect of costs in your particular matter;
6.2.3. if your opponent is ordered to pay the full amount of your costs, you still have to pay JE, and only once JE receives any payment from your opponent, will such monies be refunded to you by JE, depending on the circumstances, as the case may be and to be determined by JE, at its discretion;
6.2.4. if you are unsuccessful litigant in a litigation matter, you may be ordered to pay your opponent’s costs as well as the costs and charges due by you in terms of paragraph 3 above, to us.
7. DRAFTING OR AMENDING A DOCUMENT:
7.1. Inherent in the drafting process is the need to acquire a clear grasp of the purpose of the document (“agreement / opinion / letter”). Furthermore, we have to comprehend your needs in having such document drafted by us. Once that has been determined, the drafting process commences and it is not a once-off attendance, but invariably requires redrafting,particularly where complex or important documents are needed.
7.2. The process of redrafting involves us having to consider the document and applying our mind to the concepts and structures effecting any alteration which may be material to the document.Where there are earlier drafts of the final document, earlier draft(s) will be the subject of a separate drafting and perusal charge.
7.3. In addition, any redrafting shall inter alia involve the perusal of the earlier draft, considering the then amended document on its own and by way of comparison to the earlier draft as well as other document made available to us for the purposes of fulfilling our mandate.
7.4. Once a first draft has been sent to you, each further draft and attendances related thereto, are charged in accordance with our attorney’s charge-out fee as set out in paragraph 3 above.
8. INCREASE OF FEES:
JE reserves the right to, from time to time, increase our charge-out rate and/or fees in accordance with market standards and norms, but solely and absolutely at the discretion of JE.
If you instruct JE to invest funds on your behalf, from time to time we shall be entitled to charge you a fee (which will be a percentage of the interest earned in respect of such investment and deducted from such interest) in order to allow for our administrative costs incurred in supervising and setting up such investment and in complying with the requirement of the Law Society.
If JE or Jacqueline Ellis personally is sued as a result of the fact that we undertook to act as your attorneys of record in a matter against a party and such party then institutes any legal action and / or application against JE or Jacqueline Ellis personally; then you shall be held liable for all legal fees and disbursements incurred by JE in opposing or defending such spurious and vexatious conduct by such party. It is common in family law for the opposing party/ies and or his / her attorney to personally to attack JE as a strategic attempt to intimidate or bully you. In such an instance; you hereby indemnify JE and Jacqueline Ellis personally in respect of any opposition / defence required in opposing and / or defending such conduct that may arise from your matter with JE; which includes any attempt by any party and / or his / her legal representative to affect your matter with JE to claim any action against JE or Jacqueline Ellis personally, which action would not have occurred but for JE consenting to represent you as your attorneys of record in a matter; there being no prior relationship between your spouse and / or opposing party to JE; such indemnification is to include the costs of any attempt against JE or Jacqueline Ellis personally to claim de bonis propriis costs.
11. TERMINATION OF MANDATE:
Without prejudice to our other rights and remedies available to JE, JE will have the right to terminate your mandate at out sole discretion and for any reason whatsoever, which reasons may be the one of the following but not limited thereto:-
11.1. you fail to promptly supply any information and instruction needed by us to act on your behalf;
11.2. any of our invoices to you remain unpaid after presentation;
11.3. we determine, in our sole discretion, that there exists a conflict of interest between us;
11.4. The attorney client relationship has broken down.