"South Africans can't afford Lawyers"- Justice Minister Radebe

By Drum Digital
20 October 2013

Lawyers' fees are too high for ordinary South Africans to afford them, the Sunday Times reported.Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery told the paper that litigation was out of reach for the poor and middle class,

Lawyers' fees are too high for ordinary South Africans to afford them, the Sunday Times reported.

Deputy Justice Minister John Jeffery told the paper that litigation was out of reach for the poor and middle class, as it would cost a domestic worker two days' salary to see a lawyer for 15 minutes.

"It is clear that access to a lawyer is for affluent South Africans only. But even for middle class people the cost of legal representation is simply unaffordable," Jeffery told the paper.

The interview followed the announcement of new tariffs which would see consultation via phone for a high court matter costing R235 for 15 minutes -- R940 an hour.

A meeting with a potential attorney would cost R72 for 15 minutes while it would cost R94 a page to draft a court document.

Johannesburg attorney, Michael de Broglio, told the newspaper the tariffs lagged behind inflation. He told the paper in his view the tariff should be closer to R1150.

"It would cost you about R2500 to R5000 to draft a standard, simple motion application."

This would take "less than an hour to draft."

Jeffery told the paper government was pushing ahead with the Legal Practice Bill, which he hoped would be passed before the general election.

- By SAPA  and Sunday Times

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