Consumer help: lawyers, legal aid

Unhappy with your lawyer’s service – failure to answer your letters, failure to account for money held on your behalf, overcharging? Here’s where to go.

Law Society of South Africa

Umbrella body for the attorney’s profession in South Africa. The society recommends that you talk to your attorney first about any problem you have with his or her service. If you are still not satisfied, then you should complain to your provincial law society – see the list below. The websites also carry directories of registered law practioners.

You can complain to your provincial law society about the ethical behaviour of your attorney, such as failing to answer your letters, or to account for money held on your behalf, and overcharging.

However, the societies will not handle complaints, such as alleging incompetence or negligence, which might give rise to claims for compensation, as the societies do not have the power to award compensation. Such compensation can only be pursued through further legal proceedings – you will have to contact another attorney.

Provincial law societies

Attorneys Fidelity Fund

The Attorneys Fidelity Fund is a statutory body established and regulated by the provisions of the Attorneys Act of 1979. Its objective is to protect the public against loss as a result of the theft of trust funds by practitioners.

Legal Aid

Legal Aid South Africa is an independent body established by law to render or make available legal representation to indigent persons at State expense as contemplated in the Constitution, which affords every citizen access to justice.

It also offers legal advice on child and family law as well as land disputes via a toll free call centre: 0800 110 110

Legal Resources Centre

The LRC is a public interest, human rights organisation in South Africa.

SAinfo reporter

Reviewed: 13 July 2012

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