The South African Law Reform Commission (SALRC) has announced an investigation into the cost of legal fees in South Africa.
The SALRC said that part of its mandate will be to look at the circumstances which had given rise to legal fees that are ‘unattainable for most people in the country’.
It said that it will also find ways to improve access to justice by members of the public, and the desirability of establishing a ‘mechanism’ which will be responsible for determining fees and tariffs payable to legal practitioners.
The SALRC said it will also be responsible for developing this mechanism should it find that its introduction is necessary.
“The SALRC is required to consider the desirability of giving users of legal services the option to pay less or in excess of any amount that may be set by the mechanism, and the obligation by a legal practitioner to conclude a mandatory fee arrangement with a client when that client secures that legal practitioner’s services,” it said.
“In doing this, the SALRC must be guided by best international practices, the public interest, and the interests of the legal profession.”