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<< January 2010  | February 2010 |  March 2010 >>
Attorneys to mark up Advocates fees

South African attorneys will note with great interest that the Bar Standards Board in England has now allowed rule changes that will allow solicitors in England to profit from instructing barristers from now on.   The new rules will allow a solicitors’ firm, instead of treating the advocates’ fees as disbursements only, to mark up the barrister’s account when billing the client so as to generate a profit.    It would be of great interest to see whether the South African Bar adopts a similar rule.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Tuesday 02-Feb-10   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  Comments
New blog at debroglio.co.za

My new blog is up - and it deals much more with my general interests than this site, which is aimed primarily at attorneys and advocates.  The blog can be found at www.debroglio.co.za and has my thoughts on golf, movies and whatever else I want to comment on!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Wednesday 03-Feb-10   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments
RAF finances under spotlight

As most of my readers will know, the Road Accident Fund has called a meeting and the topic is the finances of the Road Accident Fund and payment of capital and costs.  One just cannot imagine, with the amount of money that we are seen squandered at the moment by the Road Accident Fund on Sheriff’s fees and failure to settle small matters without incurring massive costs, that there can possibly be any good news.  The question is really how bad the news is going to be, what compromises are going to be expected of attorneys and what the Road Accident Fund is going to offer in return.  I don’t want the jump the gun by putting too many of my ideas in this blog, which tends to be quite well read, but I certainly think that the Road Accident Fund has to step back from their approach of blaming attorneys for everything, and take a long and serious look at themselves.  There are just way too many cases that are settled for under R1 000,00 where their claims handlers are just not capable of making a settlement offer and getting rid of the matter and the legal costs.  We hear of attorneys who do hundreds, if not thousands of suppliers’ claims for R1 000,00 or less who end up being forced to take the matter to court and the Road Accident Fund can be paying their own attorneys R10 000,00 or more in costs and the plaintiff attorneys anywhere between R5 000,00 to R8 000,00 in party and party costs and all of this to settle a claim that they could have gotten rid of by making an offer for R500,00 and tendering R1 200,00 or R1 600,00 in costs.  The proper use of tenders – and by that I mean the realistic offers that put plaintiffs under pressure and not farcical figures thumb sucked by claims handlers who have given no consideration to the matter, could also have dramatic cost savings for the Road Accident Fund.  I think the Road Accident Fund also needs to learn to be more honest with attorneys.  It has been patently obvious for the last 8 or 12 weeks that there have been financial problems at the Road Accident Fund but have we been told that?  No, we have been fed a bunch of stories about the software not working, the finance department’s staff still being on leave, the systems being down and all sorts of other stories while we are continually being leaked allegations that all settlements have stopped (thus forcing matters to court and increasing the legal costs) in an effort to reduce what the Road Accident Fund is paying out.

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Thursday 04-Feb-10   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  Comments
Satchwell proposals

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee for Transport was given the draft proposals for this new set of legislation on Wednesday, 3 February 2010.  They plan to have the legislation enacted during next year but the policy document, certainly as I understand it, will be published in next week’s Government Gazette and after that the public will be given until April only to comment.  I say April only, because this is based on a 2 000 page report by Judge Satchwell and the policy considerations are absolutely huge.  Amongst the changes:  No fault, no pain and suffering – even for serious injuries, no lump sum for future loss of income.  You can listen to the audio of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee meeting which runs to approximately 80 minutes, at this link on the  http://pmg.org.za/node/19788

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Friday 05-Feb-10   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  Comments
Road Accident Fund constitutional case

The Road Accident Fund constitutional case between the Law Society of South Africa and the Minister of Transport is going to be heard in the Pretoria High Court, from the dates 1 to 3 March 2010.  No doubt the party who loses this is ultimately going to appeal the decision, but we are very close to the hearing of the matter!

Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 08-Feb-10   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  Comments
LSSA press release on Mphse

The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) urges Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development Jeff Radebe to withdraw or suspend the appointment of Mokotedi Mpshe as an acting judge of the North-West High Court: Mafikeng to allow the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) to consider the matter and make its official views public. The JSC is scheduled to meet again in April. 

The LSSA joins the General Council of the Bar and the JSC in expressing grave concern at the appointment of a former acting National Director of Public Prosecutions as an acting judge. The LSSA agrees with the above organisations that it is undesirable for a government official – while still retaining his civil service position as a public prosecutor – to be a member of the judiciary. This offends the concept of judicial independence.
In addition, the LSSA believes the manner in which the acting position was canvassed – in terms of which the Minister made both the nomination and the appointment – hints at Executive interference in the judiciary.
Posted by Michael de Broglio on Monday 15-Feb-10   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  Comments

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