LEGAL COSTS AGREEMENT
1. This memorandum records the standard fee agreement between MAHARAJ ATTORNEYS (the law-firm) and the parties who engage its services from time to time (the debtor).
2. The debtor shall be liable for immediate payment of all costs charged by the law-firm, such to include all fees at the rate prescribed by the law-firm from time to time and disbursements at their actual value plus VAT thereon.
3. The law-firm’s fees are self-determined and shall be paid by the debtor free from demand, taxation or assessment, it being a material term of the law-firm’s terms of engagement that the debtor shall pay the fees determined by the law-firm, alternatively, it may engage the services of an alternate law-firm.
4. When requested by the law-firm to do so, the debtor shall pay such retainer as the law-firm may request from time to time as security for costs to be incurred and the debtor authorises the law-firm to utilise the retainer in settlement of costs as and when they are incurred, which funds are ceded and pledged as security for the law-firm’s fees and disbursements.
5. The law-firm is at all times authorised, in respect of any monies recovered, held or received by it under any mandate whatsoever, to utilise same in settlement of any costs owed at any time and from any cause by the debtor or a related party which funds are ceded and pledged in security for the law-firm’s fees and disbursements.
6. The law-firm at all times retains the right to require retainers to be paid prior to rendering legal services and because it is entitled to immediate payment, no agreement to defer payment for services rendered shall exist, although a fee note quantifying costs may be generated subsequent to the rendering of services or circumstances may arise where services may be rendered without a retainer. Accordingly no credit agreement, in any form, may at any time subsist between the parties unless the law-firm agrees thereto in a written document, signed by its authorised representative/s.
7. Where any amount due is unpaid, the law-firm shall be entitled to charge interest thereon at the rate of 2% per month as compensation for damages (and not as a finance charge or cost of credit) from the date that the law-firm in its sole discretion shall determine.
8. Where the law-firm departs from any of the terms recorded in this memorandum, it shall at all times be without prejudice to its rights which rights are perpetually reserved and such departure shall not constitute a waiver of its rights, a compromise, a variation, an estoppel or in any other manner a substitution of or departure from the terms hereof unless the law-firm agrees thereto in a written document, signed by its authorised representative/s.
9. The law-firm shall be relieved of the duty to render any services to the debtor or client until such time that its fees and disbursements are paid and/or its retainer requirements have been met, as it in its sole discretion may determine.
10. All fees shall be billed at an hourly rate prescribed by the law-firm from time to time in five minute increments and such rate shall increase during January of each year at a percentage determined by the law-firm and it shall be the debtor’s duty to familiarise itself with such annual increases.
11. The law-firm shall be entitled to levy a 25% surcharge on fees for urgent proceedings, services rendered after 17H00, during weekends and public holidays and in foreign jurisdictions.
12. All travel shall be billed at an hourly rate equivalent to 75% of the usual hourly rate of the law-firm plus the actual costs of travel, such to include the costs of business-class airfare for all flights, all executive car hire costs and/or the rate per kilometre as determined by the Automobile Association.
13. All accommodation and meals that may be required shall be at such business hotels as the law-firm shall in its sole and unfettered discretion determine.
14. The debtor shall be deemed to have agreed to the law-firm’s costs upon it failing to dispute, in writing, any item appearing on the law-firm’s fee notes that are rendered from time to time, immediately upon receipt thereof setting out full details of the dispute.
15. Any special fee arrangements departing from the terms hereof shall be in writing and signed by the authorised representative/s of the law-firm.
16. Where the law-firm institutes any legal proceedings for the recovery of its fees and disbursements it shall be entitled to recover the costs of those proceedings on the Attorney-Client scale.
17. Where two or more parties are liable to the law-firm for payment of fees and disbursements, such parties’ liability shall be joint and several.