RAF a bottomless pit, advocates claim

2011-08-31 21:33
Johannesburg - Advocates who face being struck off the roll for wrongdoing involving the Road Accident Fund (RAF), would rather repay the Cancer Association or the zoo, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria heard on Wednesday.

Ordering the advocates to repay the RAF would be like dumping money into a bottomless pit, lawyer for one of the advocates, Peet Delport SC, argued.

Judge Kees Van Dijkhorst wanted to know if the pit was not bottomless, because it had to a large extent been depleted by legal fees.

Delport argued his client would rather pay the Cancer Association. Senior counsel for some of the other advocates suggested the money go to the zoo instead.

The General Council of the Bar has applied before a full bench, consisting of three retired high court judges, to strike the names of 13 Pretoria top advocates, off the roll.

The Pretoria Bar suspended 12 of them, for between four and six months, after they admitted to accepting multiple cases for the same court date and double billing in numerous matters involving the RAF.

The advocates have blamed a congested court roll, and an unhelpful RAF for bending the rules. They maintained what they did was not dishonest, but aimed at serving the public, who had otherwise waited up to two years to get a court date, and then still not be assured of receiving any compensation.

The Pretoria Bar asked the court to confirm the sanctions imposed on the advocates and decide the fate of those who denied guilt.

The general council regarded their actions as dishonest and wanted them struck off the roll of advocates.

Delport submitted the court take into account the advocates would never have broken the rules without the complicity of attorneys.

Although the Pretoria Bar had written to the Law Society and proposed similar action against the attorneys involved, nothing had happened to them.

The application continues.

- SAPA
Read more on:    raf
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