It is important for you to read and understand the terms and conditions of our potential engagement with you. They will apply to you as soon as you accept and complete this client onboarding process.
1. Application of Terms and Conditions
1.1. These terms and conditions (“Terms and Conditions”) will govern the relationship between MJD Law and the person whose details were submitted via our online client onboarding process (“Client”).
1.2. In the event that the Client fails to fulfil the online client onboarding process but nevertheless instructs MJD Law to render any services to the Client, it will be deemed that the Client has accepted these Terms and Conditions.
1.3. These Terms and Conditions will apply to all relationships MJD Law has with the Client (with retroactive force if need be) and will continue to be effective until all rights and obligations between the parties are extinguished.
2. Scope of Legal Services
MJD Law will render such services to the Client as agreed to between MJD Law and the Client from time to time.
3. Instructions and Performance of Services
3.1. MJD Law is entitled to take instruction from the Client from any employee, director, shareholder, representative and/or agent of the Client whose authority will not be required to be verified.
3.2. Should a Client instruct MJD Law on behalf of a third party, the Client warrants that it has the requisite authority to engage MJD Law on behalf of such third party and to the extent necessary indemnifies MJD Law for the payment of any legal fees, disbursements and/or costs incurred by MJD Law on attending to such instruction.
3.3. Once the Client has provided MJD Law with an instruction, MJD Law will allocate the instruction to the appropriate individual to deal with the matter. The services to be rendered to the Client are not limited to the individual or individuals the Client consulted with.
3.4. Any instruction given to MJD Law by the Client is deemed to include an instruction by the Client for MJD Law to do all things reasonably necessary in relation thereto. This includes, but is not limited to, the incurrence of any reasonable disbursements on behalf of the Client and the appointment of third parties such as experts, correspondents, lawyers in foreign jurisdictions, cost consultants and advocates.
4. Fees and Invoicing
4.1. Unless otherwise agreed to with the Client, MJD Law’s fees are calculated by multiplying the time spent by its staff members on matters by their respective hourly rates.
4.2. The current hourly rates of MJD Law’s directors and staff members are as follows (exclusive of VAT):
Director: R4 300
Senior Associate: R3 480
Associate: R2 975
Candidate Attorney: R1 750
4.3. MJD Law is entitled to increase its hourly rates from time to time on publication thereof on its website and it will be the Client’s obligations to keep itself of abreast of such pricing adjustments.
4.4. In matters where MJD Law has provided a specific fee estimate, it will endeavour to attend to such services within such estimate. However, if the services reasonably require more time than anticipated and/or the attention of a more senior member than anticipated, MJD Law will charge for, and the Client will be liable for, such services.
4.5. MJD Law will invoice the Client for work done during a calendar month at the end of each calendar month, however, MJD Law is entitled to send invoices earlier or later in its sole discretion.
4.6. Invoices are due on presentation, failing which they will accrue interest at a rate of 2% (two percent) per month, compounded monthly (on the last calendar day of each month) in arrears from the date on which payment was due until the date of full and final settlement of the outstanding invoice and accrued interest.
4.7. All payments must be made in the currency invoiced by MJD Law in immediately available funds, by electronic funds transfer, into the bank account nominated by the MJD Law in writing. All invoices must be settled free of exchange, transaction, banking and/or transfer costs. If payment is being made in a foreign currency, MJD Law reserves the right to adjust its fee to cater for, inter alia, the cost of currency exchange and bank fees.
4.8. The Client is obliged to settle all of MJD Law’s invoices irrespective of whether a Client’s lawsuit or matter succeeds, or has the desired effect anticipated by the Client, the Client decides to not proceed with the matter or terminates its engagement with MJD Law.
The Client will reimburse MJD Law for all reasonable costs incurred by MJD Law on the Client’s behalf, including but not limited to: costs and charges for printing and photocopying (or similar services), correspondents, lawyers in foreign jurisdictions, advocates, experts, accountants, third party service providers, disbursements and business travel (or similar).
6.1. MJD Law is entitled to request that the Client deposit any amount into its trust account prior to commencing or continuing any work and/or incurring any disbursements on behalf of the Client from time to time.
6.2. MJD Law is entitled to suspend and stop conducting work on a Client’s matter should there be any funds outstanding to MJD Law (including any deposits requested).
7. MJD Law Bank Account
7.1. All payments are to be made into the following bank account:
Bank: First National Bank
Branch code: 210835
SWIFT code: FIRNZAJJ
7.1.1. Trust account:
Account: Commercial Attorneys Trust
Account no.: 62845309641
7.1.2. Business account:
Account: Platinum Business Account
Account no.: 62845312941
7.2. The Client acknowledges that:
7.2.1. criminals may attempt to induce it to make payments due to MJD Law into bank accounts that do not belong to MJD Law; and
7.2.2. this form of fraud may be perpetrated through emails, letters and electronic or other correspondences that may appear to have emanated from MJD Law.
7.3. Before making any payment to MJD Law, it is the Client’s responsibility to verify that the account into which payment will be made is a legitimate bank account of MJD Law.
7.4. MJD Law will not change its bank details by way of email or other electronic communication. The Client undertakes to report to MJD Law any correspondence purporting to change MJD Law’s bank details.
8. Client Responsibilities
8.1. Should the Client’s instruction to MJD Law relate to, or result in litigation, the Client is hereby made aware of the following:
8.2. the Client acknowledges the risk associated with litigation insofar as cost orders are concerned. For clarification, the Client agrees that it is aware that it faces the risk of having to pay the other litigating party’s legal fees. Should this scenario occur for any reason whatsoever, these fees will be payable to the other litigating party’s attorneys in addition to MJD Law’s fees and any disbursements associated with the litigation;
8.3. the Client acknowledges that should it be successful in litigation, and the court makes an order for costs in the Client’s favour, that the Client will not recover 100% (one hundred percent) of the legal costs and disbursements it incurred, but only a portion thereof as determined by the taxing master;
8.4. MJD Law may appoint an advocate to argue the matter on the Client’s behalf. The Client is entitled to nominate an advocate to attend to the matter on the Client’s behalf. In the absence of such nomination MJD Law may appoint any advocate it deems fit for the relevant matter; and
8.5. MJD Law’s appointment of an advocate will not render MJD Law liable towards the Client should the court find against the Client or should the Client not achieve the desired results.
9. Termination of Services
9.1. Either party may cancel this engagement on written notice to the other party.
9.2. Notwithstanding termination, the Client will be liable for all MJD Law’s fees, costs and disbursements incurred prior to termination.
MJD Law has a lien (a right of possession) over all the documents (including documents stored electronically) and monies held on a Client’s account until full payment of the outstanding fees have been made. Should a Client appoint a new legal representative, MJD Law will release all the documents only upon receiving payment of outstanding fees owing to MJD Law.
11. Client Money
11.1. Money held on behalf of the Client:
Any money held as a deposit, or any money collected or received from or on behalf of the Client, will be allocated to any outstanding account of the Client.
11.2. Money held in MJD Law’s trust account:
The Client acknowledges that it will not earn any interest on money held in MJD Law’s trust account as such interest must be paid to the Fidelity Fund in accordance with the provisions of the Legal Practice Act No. 28 of 2014 (“Legal Practice Act”) unless otherwise agreed in terms of paragraph 12.3 below.
11.3. Section 86(4) investment:
11.3.1. Should the Client instruct MJD Law to invest money that MJD Laws holds on behalf of the Client, the Client must complete MJD Law’s standard investment mandate. Upon receipt thereof, MJD Law will invest such money into an interest-bearing account. All interest earned shall accrue to the Client subject to the provisions of section 86(5) of the Legal Practice Act which provides that the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund (“Fidelity Fund”) shall automatically sweep 5% (five percent) of the trust interest earned on the section 86(4) trust investment to the nominated Fidelity Fund bank account.
11.3.2. The Client acknowledges that money invested in terms of 86(4) of the Legal Practice Act will not be covered by the Fidelity Fund if: (i) payment is not made for purposes of investing such money on a temporary basis only pending the conclusion or implementation of a matter or transaction which already exists or is about to start at the time the investment is made; and (ii) MJD Law does not exercise exclusive control over the account as trustee, agent, stakeholder or in any other fiduciary capacity.
To the extent permissible by law, MJD Law will not be liable for any loss that the Client may suffer as a result of: (i) any act or omission of the banking institution concerned regarding any account; (ii) any inability, delay or failure of the banking institution to repay the money on demand; (iii) the identity or choice of the banking institution; and/or (iv) any interest or exchange rate fluctuation.
12. Limited Liability
12.1. MJD Law will have no liability of any nature, whether in contract, delict or otherwise, for any losses, damages, costs or expenses (“Losses”) whatsoever and howsoever caused arising from or connected with any engagement, except to the extent permitted in terms of common law where such Losses are caused by MJD Law’s gross negligence or wilful default.
12.2. The aggregate liability of MJD Law, of whatsoever nature, whether in contract, delict or otherwise, for any Losses whatsoever caused arising from or in any way connected with any engagement will not exceed the professional indemnity cover received by MJD Law in respect thereof.
12.3. The Terms and Conditions will not exclude or restrict any liability of MJD Law for fraud or dishonesty if it cannot do so by law.
12.4. Until any action by MJD Law is finally and judicially determined (including by conclusion of any appeal) to have been fraud, wilful default or gross negligence, the Client will indemnify on demand and hold harmless MJD Law against all actions, claims, proceedings, Losses, damages, costs and expenses whatsoever and howsoever caused arising from or in connection with any instruction given by the Client to MJD Law.
13. Memorandums, Opinions, Comments or Advice
13.1. MJD Law’s engagement with the Client creates rights and obligations between the Client and MJD only. No other person, other than the Client may (i) rely on any memorandum, opinion, comments, advice or other information (collectively referred to as “Advice”) given by MJD Law; (ii) be protected by such Advice given by MJD Law; and/or (iii) enforce any term of these Terms and Conditions with MJD Law through any applicable law.
13.2. Any Advice given by MJD Law will be:
13.2.1. in connection with the matter at hand only, may not be relied upon for any other purpose and may not be disclosed to any other person (except to persons who in the ordinary course of the Client’s business have access to the Client’s papers and records, on the basis that they will similarly make no further disclosure) and may not be filed with any governmental agency or authority or quoted in any public document without MJD Law’s prior written consent, which will not be unreasonably withheld;
13.2.2. provided on the basis that, except as explicitly stated therein, no Advice is given in relation to any other written agreements nor upon any other related commercial terms;
13.2.3. expressed in respect of, or on the basis of, any legislation, regulation or other governmental directive, which was in force, and on the basis of the provisions thereof, at the time that the Advice was given;
13.2.4. provided on the basis that MJD Law has no obligation to update or amend Advice given as a result of events occurring after the date thereof or any existing or antecedent matter or circumstances being brought to MJD Law’s attention after the date thereof; and
13.2.5. is not “advice” in respect of a “financial product” as defined in the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Act No. 37 of 2002.
14.1. Written correspondence and draft documents will be transmitted to the Client via e-mail and/or shared electronic folders. As these forms of media are open to abuse by third parties, MJD Law cannot accept responsibility for breaches of confidentiality arising from their use. Documents sent by e-mail must also be treated with caution and not be relied upon as final, as persons other than MJD Law’s representatives may make amendments thereto without MJD Law’s knowledge and approval.
14.2. Unless otherwise agreed, MJD Law will communicate directly with the Client’s representatives, or persons whom MJD Law reasonably believes to be involved in the matter.
14.3. MJD Law will not be liable in instances where its filtering software or other virus protection does not function or function adequately and the Client’s system is infected by an e-mail or other form of digital information (CD-ROM, DVD, memory stick or the internet).
15. Data Protection and Personal Information
15.1. For the purposes of this clause 15, “Personal Information” and “Processing” shall have the meaning prescribed thereto in terms of the Protection of Personal Information Act No. 4 of 2013 (“POPIA”).
15.2. By engaging with MJD Law, the Client provides MJD Law with its consent to Process its Personal Information for, inter alia, the purpose of representing the Client and maintaining records as to the legal matters of the Client.
15.3. MJD Law may disclose that it represents the Client (and utilise the Client’s logo in doing so) however, the nature of any confidential instructions from the Client will be kept confidential.
15.4. The Personal Information may be transferred to third parties for Processing for, inter alia, attending to matters of the Client and/or internal administrative attendances at MJD Law and the Client consents thereto.
15.5. MJD Law undertakes that all Personal Information will be held securely to the standard directed by POPIA and that it has bound its third parties and internal administrators to a similar standard as prescribed by POPIA.
16. Retention and Destruction of Documents
16.1. In accordance with its policies, MJD Law may destroy paper and/or delete electronic files after a period of 5 (five) years after sending the Client the final account of a matter.
16.2. In the event that the Client requires MJD Law to retrieve any documents from storage, the Client will be liable for all reasonable costs in relation thereto, including but not limited to time spent reading such documents, drafting letters or any other action deemed necessary to comply with such request from Client.
17. Intellectual Property
MJD Law retains the intellectual property rights in relation to its work. The Client shall have a licence to use and make copies of such documents prepared by MJD Law for purposes of the relevant matter only, unless otherwise agreed.
18. Anti-Money Laundering
18.1. MJD Law is required to comply with various laws and regulations pertaining to anti-money laundering and terrorism.
18.2. The Client will provide MJD Law with information to perform “Know Your Client” or due diligence checks within 5 (five) business days from requests therefore. The Client warrants that the information and supporting documents provided to MJD Law in this regard is correct and complete in all material respects.
18.3. MJD Law may be obliged to report any suspicious activity of a Client to the relevant authorises who may prohibit MJD Law disclosing to the Client that such a report was made.
18.4. MJD Law shall not be liable to the Client for any Losses that the Client may suffer because of ceasing to act on a matter or fulfilling statutory obligations in accordance with this paragraph 20 in a bona fide manner.
19. Address for Receiving of Notices
The Client chooses the physical, postal and e-mail address, all recorded under the Client’s name in the Annexure A (Client FICA), for receipt of all documents and written notices.
20.1. The parties agree that in the event of a dispute arising in relation to the fees charged by MJD Law to the Client, in respect of non-litigious matters (“Dispute”), the Dispute will be subjected to a fees enquiry to be conducted by an authorised sub-structure of the South African Legal Practice Council (“Council”), or any committee duly appointed by the Council, to assess the fees and reasonable disbursements payable by the Client in respect of the performance of work done by the attorney in his or her capacity as a practitioner.
20.2. It is the Client’s obligation and responsibility to refer any Dispute to the Council for final determination within a period of 14 (fourteen) days from receipt of the disputed invoice, failing which the Client is deemed to accept the invoice and to the extent necessary, waives its right to dispute same.
20.3. The Client is liable for all costs and disbursements incurred by MJD Law in pursuance of debt collection from the Client and any Dispute referred to the Council by the Client.
20.4. Any amounts due to MJD Law remain payable to MJD Law notwithstanding a Client’s referral of a Dispute to the Council and will continue to accrue interest, subject to any determination made by the Council.
21. Amendment to Terms and Conditions
MJD Law may amend the Terms and Conditions by publication thereof on its website. The Client acknowledges that it is the Client’s responsibility to keep itself abreast of the Terms and Conditions on the website.
If any terms or provisions of the Terms and Conditions are or become invalid, illegal or unenforceable, such portion will be deemed to be amended to the extent necessary in order to make the term or provision valid, legal or enforceable or if not possible, will be severed from the Terms and Conditions and the remainder will survive unaffected.
23. Whole Agreement and Non-variation
The Terms and Conditions will constitute the whole agreement between MJD Law and the Client and no amendments or changes to the Terms and Conditions will be of any effect unless reduced to writing and signed by MJD Law.