Lawyers hike legal fees

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By Staff Reporter

THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has set new recommended prices for legal practitioners, a move that will see those seeking for a divorce forking out $18 000, about US$1 000 in terms of payment for services while the defendant in the divorce action will pay $12 000.

In a memo to legal practitioners this week, the LSZ also announced new tariffs that will see a lawyer with over 30 years experience charging a client between $3 000 and $5 250 per hour.

A newly registered lawyer with less than one year experience will charge between $750 and $1 125 per hour.

Other standard fees pegged are, company registration, $7 500; a simple will, $6 000; and insolvency or liquidation, 2.5% of the value claimed.

The LSZ said the tariffs did not cover civil litigation, conveyance, collection commissions and deceased estate administration fees whereas legal practitioner and client fees for criminal and general non-litigious work are covered.

“Legal practitioners are professionally and legally obliged to charge fees for legal work which are fair and reasonable in all circumstances,” the LSZ said in a notice to its members.

“In order to assist the profession and the public in this regard and seek a degree of uniformity and consistency, these tariffs recommended by the Council of the Law Society of Zimbabwe for application to all legal work undertaken by legal practitioners, save where some other tariff is applied by law or where the client has agreed to some other rate or basis of charging,” it said.

The society said legal practitioners who exceeded the recommended tariff did so at their peril.

“If they feel the tariff is inadequate or inequitable or likely to prejudice a good relationship with a client, they are welcome to approach the council for guidance.

“Where the legal practitioner intends to charge fees on a basis which is different from that which is set out in this recommended tariff, it is essential that the client be informed in advance and that the client’s prior agreement to this should be obtained,” it advised.