+ What are the going per hour rates for the lawyers
The hourly rates for lawyers depend on a number of factors such as the seniority of the lawyer, the complexity of the matter, whether it is a High Court or Lower Court matter and the urgency of the matter. It is always advisable that you check with the hourly rates to be charged before the consultation as this could be negotiable.
+ Can I recover legal costs if i win my case?
In most instances a successful litigant is awarded legal costs. What this invariably means is that the successful litigant can recover costs from the unsuccesful party. Costs are awarded on either on a party and party scale or attorney and client scale. Party and Party costs roughly adds up to about 70 to 80 percent of the total costs which the successful party can recover. In this instance attorney and own client costs cannot be recovered. These equates to certain consultations, telephone calls and disbursements not allowed by the court. Attorney and Client costs are normally awarded to the successful party as a penalty against the losing party or if the matter relied on a contract where the parties agreed on attorney and client costs being recovered. What this means is that 100% of the successful party's costs can be recovered from the losing party. Before costs can be recovered your attorney will draft a Bill Of Costs which will be served on the opposing attorney. The respective attorneys may then choose to settle the Bill or set it down for taxation. In the case of the latter the Bill is then set down for taxation before a court appointed taxing master. The taxing master will then peruse the bill and then certify that the bill has been drafted as per the applicable tariffs and that the work charged for corresponds with the attorneys file notes and vouchers. Once the bill is taxed it becomes due for payment and payment can be recovered in the same way as any civil judgment.
+ What are the benefits of having a written contract
Written contracts are the best evidence of the parties intention in a court of law.
A well drafted contract is worth it's weight in gold. Many parties fail to reduce their agreements to writing and many litigants are unsuccessful due to their inability to prove the terms of an oral contract. It comes down to your word against your opponents word and if the court cannot decipher where the truth lies then it cannot hold in your favour. Certain contracts by law have to be reduced to writing and any oral agreement in relation to that particular agreement is not enforceable in a court of law.
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