GOT A LEGAL MATTER BUT CAN NOT AFFORD LAWYER – WHAT TO DO
Whether it involves someone owing you money, or whether you are involved in a family dispute regarding property or maintenance of minor children, to whether you have suffered financial loss due to someone else’s actions or are wondering whether you were subjected to an unfair dismissal or labour practice, like it or not, we have all been in situations where we wonder whether we have a legal matter and should proceed with legal action.
A recent survey by the World Justice Project, titled: “Global Insights on Access to Justice: General Population Poll in 101 Countries Findings” found that most people did not turn to lawyers or courts when facing a legal problem, with less than a third (29%) of people experiencing a legal problem seeking any form of advice or help. And of those who did seek assistance preferred to turn to family members or friends, with fewer than 17% taking their problem to an authority or third party to mediate or adjudicate, preferring to negotiate directly with the other party themselves.
This is by no means different in South Africa, with Stats South Africa’s Statistical Release based on their Governance; Public Safety and Justice Survey, dated August 2019, revealing that 29% of people experiencing disputes go to family and friends for help in trying to resolve their disputes, while 9% go to the police for help, 8% go to courts or tribunals and 5% seek help from community organisations. Other sources of legal help and assistance, such as lawyers, legal professionals, and/or Legal Aid Clinics and community based paralegal services, are approached far less frequently.
This is no wonder, given a 2010 Tech4Law survey which found that the vast majority of lawyers charged between R1 500 and R2 000 per hour for their services, with the 2016 Lexis Nexis Infographic Report Survey of the Attorney’s Profession (published during 2019) confirming that the average fees per hour has not changed, with majority of practicing attorneys charging between R1 000 and R3 000 per hour for their services.
Despite R23 122 per month representing the average monthly income in South Africa during August 2021, the Household Affordability Index (August 2021) reports the national minimum wage as R3 643,92, with the cost of feeding a family of 4 a basic nutritious diet per month as R2 930,93 (excluding rent, domestic and personal hygiene products). Given these facts together with the 11.4 million unemployed South Africans and that a single wage generally supports 4 people on average in South Africa, it is clear that paying the legal fees and tariffs of lawyers, attorneys and other legal practitioners is simply a luxury majority of South African’s cannot afford, a freedom exclusive to the rich.
However, legal advice, assistance and representation need not be limited to the rich. Individuals are able to obtain legal advice, opinion and analysis based on the merits of their legal matter before deciding whether it would be worth it, in terms of money and time, to proceed with legal action and incur the expenses, hourly fees and tariffs associated with it.
Legal Consultants can assist you in your legal matter by looking at the facts of your matter and advising on what the best course of action would be. They provide a legal opinion, which can be either verbally given or provided by way of a written document, providing an objective interpretation and analysis of a legal matter, setting out the law as it stands in South Africa, applying the law to the facts of your particular matter and providing recommendations and conclusions, including what your rights are, what legal actions you may have available and what the chances of success are if the matter should go to court. All at a very reasonable cost, below that of the hourly fees and tariffs of an attorney or lawyer.
Apart from the legal opinion providing you with the benefits of clearly indicating whether you have a legal claim or defence worth pursuing, justifying the legal costs, fees and tariffs coupled with legal action, it will also answer any questions you may have and provide you with expert support and help. Additionally it will: assist you in understanding what the legal effect or consequence of a particular transaction or matter may have, such as when concluding a contract or engaging in a particular act or activity. It will also assist in identifying possible risks that may arise in any transaction or matter, also indicating how same may be prevented, while also providing case law and legislation that support your legal matter or defeat one that has been brought against you.
So, if you think you may have a legal matter but not sure whether you should proceed with it, contact Legal Outsourcing Consultants (Pty) Ltd (L.O.C.S) today. L.O.C.S provides various services to individuals and corporates including but not limited to: legal opinion, analysis, research and advice, at fixed rates with no hourly fees or hidden legal costs.
 https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/global-insights-access-justice-2019  https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/global-insights-access-justice-2019  http://www.statssa.gov.za/publications/P0340/P03402019.pdf  https://www.moneyweb.co.za/news/economy/living-on-sas-average-salary-of-r23-122-per-month/#:~:text=Living%20on%20SA's%20'average'%20salary,R23%20122%20per%20month%20%2D%20Moneyweb  https://pmbejd.org.za/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/August-2021-Household-Affordability-Index-PMBEJD_24082021.pdf  https://www.michalsons.com/legal-services/legal-opinion  https://www.jackleigh.com/the-benefits-of-free-legal-advice/