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Rules on Contingency Fee Agreement Drawn Up

October 7, 2019

Legal Practice Council

7 October 2019

Rules on a contingency fee agreement have been drawn up.

The Legal Practice Council published the rules in Government Gazette 42739 in terms of section 6 of the Contingency Fee Act.

According to the notice, section 6 of the Contingency Fees Act stipulates that “any professional controlling body may make such rules as such professional controlling body may deem necessary in order to give effect to this act”.

Rules include that a contingency fee agreement shall be in the prescribed form; the contingency fee agreement shall record how disbursements made or to be incurred by the legal practitioner on behalf of the client are to be dealt with; in the event of a premature termination of mandate, the client shall be liable for fees to the legal practitioner provided that, before the practitioner is obliged to hand over his or her file, the practitioner will be entitled to demand a written undertaking from the client and/or the new legal practitioner that such fees and disbursements will be paid in accordance with the agreement upon the successful or partially successful conclusion of the proceedings; any affidavits filed with the Legal Practice Council in terms of Section 4 of the act shall be accompanied by a complete copy of the contingency fee agreement and, after commencement of section 35(7) of the Legal Practice Act, the prescribed cost estimate and a client of a legal practitioner who wishes to refer a contingency fee agreement or fee charged in terms thereof to the Legal Practice Council, Provincial Council or delegated Body for review must do so in writing.

The Council has also called for comment on proposed amendments to the Rules of the Council.

The draft amendments focus on adjusted annual fees payable to the Council.

Fees include R2 875 for a legal practitioner enrolled on the non-practising roll; R1 750 for a legal practitioner enrolled on the practising roll during the first two years of practice; R 3 738 for a legal practitioner enrolled on the practising roll and who has been on the practising roll for more than two years but for not more than seven years and R 5 463 for a legal practitioner enrolled on the practising roll for more than fifteen years, or who has senior counsel or senior attorney status but for not more than forty years.

No subscriptions are required from legal practitioners enrolled on the practising and non-practising roll for more than forty years.

Comment is invited until 4 November 2019.