Re: Terms of fees and other charges raised by Webb, Low and Barry
Thank you for your instructions given in the above mentioned matter.
This letter is to explain and confirm the terms which will govern our handling of your matter.
Lawyers are professionally and legally obliged to charge fees for legal work which are fair and reasonable in all the circumstances. Our charge-out rates are governed by a General Tariff for fees which is issued by the Law Society of Zimbabwe. The Tariff is available for your inspection in our reception should you wish to read it.
The Tariff sets out a variety of criteria which govern the fees and disbursements charged by all lawyers. Included in these criteria are the complexity of the work, and the experience of the lawyer handling the matter. Lawyers themselves have a discretion to charge fees within certain parameters set by the Law Society. Another critical component is time spent on a matter – time is in fact a lawyer’s stock in trade. The longer a case or matter takes, the higher the fee is likely to be.
Not all fees, however, are time based, especially those which relate to the drafting of contracts and property transactions in general. Both the Law Society Tariff and the Tariff for Conveyancing set out the specific rates which are to be charged for these types of legal work.
The writer was registered as a lawyer in 1983 and accordingly has over 32 years experience, putting him/her in the plus 30 years experience bracket as defined by the Law Society of Zimbabwe. In addition the Tariff allows lawyers in this experience category to charge a premium of up to 125% of the above mentioned standard rate where special criteria are present, defined by the Law Society, which include the complexity of the matter.
In the current matter you will be charged out time based work at a rate of US$ XXX per hour in terms of the Tariff, or portion of an hour, which are broken down into units of 6 minutes each. In addition where aspects of the work meet the special criteria set out by the Law Society, that portion of the fee may be subject to a premium. For non time based work we will advise you of our specific charge separately.
In addition you will be charged VAT at the rate of 15% of the fee, together with any disbursements incurred on your behalf. Stationery, postages and petties, where incurred, will be charged out at a rate of not more than 2% of the fee.
We will endeavor to let you have regular fee statements as and when work is done and when appropriate. Please note that such fee notes are due on presentation and should be paid within 5 days of receipt, failing which the outstanding portion will attract interest at 5% per annum. We also reserve the right to terminate further work being done if fees are in arrears.
If you need clarification of any aspect of this letter please let us know. If you are dissatisfied with any service rendered by us please in the first instance advise the writer of your complaint or concern in writing. If you remain dissatisfied please would you address a letter of complaint to the Senior Partner, copying the letter to the writer.
We will do our utmost to provide the best possible legal advice and service to you.
Kindly note that it is a specific term of our engagement agreement that all fees and other accounts rendered by the firm to you will be paid in United States Dollars – either in cash, credit/debit card transaction or by bank draft denominated in US$. Payment in any other currency or method will not be accepted.
WEBB, LOW & BARRY
Inc. Ben Baron & Partners