Lawyers hike fees
THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has set new fees for legal practitioners, which will see litigants forking out up to $17 500 an hour in order to get the assistance of a lawyer.
In a memo to legal practitioners, the LSZ said a lawyer with over 30 years’ experience would be charging between $10 000 and $17 500 per hour, while those with just one year experience will demand between $2 500 and $3 750.
Unregistered law graduates will charge between $1 500 and $3 000 per hour.
Those seeking an uncontested divorce would have to fork out $50 000 for a lawyer’s services, while the defendant in the divorce proceedings would have to pay $30 000.
According to the memo, the fees were with effect from May 2020.
Fees for a sale agreement for a residential property or farm would now see clients paying $25 000 or one percent of the selling price; and $40 000 for business or shares or two percent of the selling price.
Drafting of a Will would now cost $16 000, while lease agreements for a residential place or farm will cost $15 000 and $30 000 for a business.
According to the organisation, which governs the operations of lawyers in Zimbabwe, the tariffs did not cover civil litigation, conveyance, collection commissions and deceased estate administration fees.
“Legal practitioners are professionally and legally obliged to charge fees for legal work which are fair and reasonable in all circumstances.
“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,” the organisation said.
The organisation further warned its members against exceeding the stipulated tariffs, adding that they would be doing that at their own 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,” the organisation said.