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no win no fee

Article on ‘no win, no fee’ earns Pretoria lawyer prestigious legal award

28 June 2019 – By Zelda Venter on iol.co.za Pretoria – No win, no fee – the so-called contingency fee arrangement between lawyers and the cash-strapped public who wish to institute a claim following an injury or other harm – is often a contentious issue, but this subject saw leading Pretoria lawyer Gert Nel scooping a prestigious legal award. Nel, of the law firm Gert Nel Inc, won the 2018 LexisNexis prize for the best article by a practising attorney published in De Rebus, the official journal of the attorney’s profession. This was his first ever article submitted to De Rebus and the first prize he has ever won. “The main aim of the article was to somehow contribute in addressing the long debated issue of what would be regarded as an acceptable or reasonable interpretation and application of the Contingency Fees Act,” Nel said. Lawyers are often asked by

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LexisNexis Prize

Personal Injury Specialist Attorney Wins Industry Award

DURBAN, 20 June 2019 – Media Release by LexisNexis Pretoria based attorney, Gert Nel of independent law firm, Gert Nel Inc, recently scooped the 2018 LexisNexis Prize for Legal Practitioners for the best article by a practising attorney published in De Rebus, the official journal of the attorneys profession. His winning article, Decoding s 2(1)(a) and (b) of the Contingency Fees Act, was published in the June 2018 edition of De Rebus.  It focused on several issues, including the origin of contingency fees, foreign law, incentives for legal practitioners, the reasonability of fees and how the fees should be calculated. Nel said he wrote the article to serve as a reference and a practical guideline to be used by any practitioner engaging clients on a contingency fees basis. “The correct interpretation of Section 2(1)(a) and (b) of the Contingency Fees Act 66 of 1997 (CFA) has always been a contentious

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Directive to regulate case management

Case directive angers legal fraternity

21 June 2019 – By Zelda Venter on iol.co.za Pretoria – A practice directive to regulate case management and the enrolment of trials at the Gauteng High Courts, Pretoria and Johannesburg, has the legal fraternity up in arms, with them saying rather than alleviate congested court rolls, it will have a devastating effect on the public who wish to bring their cases before the courts. Judge President Dunstan Mlambo this week issued a lengthy document on how cases will be managed from July 1. This document contains step-by-step directives of what must be done before a civil trial can start. Attorneys who unreasonably frustrate the objectives of the judicial case management process can face a punitive costs order against them. They may even be prevented from charging clients a fee. Judge Mlambo said in the directive the objective of these measures was in the interest of justice, and meant to alleviate

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blind by medical negligence

Mom whose son was blinded by hospital staff’s negligence to get R15.7m payout

15 June 2019 – By Zelda Venter on iol.co.za Pretoria – The MEC for Health in Mpumalanga has agreed to pay more than R15.7 million in damages to the mother of a 6-year-old boy who is blind after the nursing staff at the Witbank Provincial Hospital exposed him to too much oxygen when he was born. Renier van Aswegen’s mother, Mary Rossouw, initially claimed more than R19m in the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria. The health authorities accepted full liability for his blindness and this week agreed to pay a total of R15 714 628 in damages. This amount included R9.7m for Renier’s future medical expenses and R1.4m for general damages. The money will be held in a trust and used as and when the child needs it to make his life easier. The family live on a farm in the Delmas area. Renier was born prematurely – at 33 weeks –

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RAF backlog

6000 Road Accident Victim Files Are Gathering Dust

23 May 2019  Some of the 6 000 file backlog in the office of deputy judge president Aubrey Ledwaba are more than 10 years old. In many cases the medico-legal expert reports have lapsed and taxpayer money will have to pay for the duplication of reviews and reports. A “practice directive” from Ledwaba’s office aimed at clearing up the delays says a trial-readiness certificate can only be obtained if applications have signed pre-trial minutes, expert reports and joint minutes from the resulting judicial certification meeting. The deputy judge president has the executive power to remove a matter from the court roll, as has happened with many RAF cases.  Legal experts says the process is inconsistent and prejudices clients who were part of older directives, as their cases no longer comply. This new directive is supposed to attend to the backlog, but it is not practical and there is no sense

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Road Accident Fund insolvent

The Road Accident Fund disaster

20 March 2019 – BY ADRIAAN KRUGER ON MONEYWEB.CO.ZA Victims could be left destitute, despite the high fuel levy we pay for accident insurance. Both the chairman and the chief executive officer of the Road Accident Fund (RAF) admitted in the latest annual report that the fund is insolvent, with liabilities exceeding assets by more than R206 billion at the end of March 2018. The annual report states that the fund “has been insolvent since 1981”. The total liabilities with regards to claims agreed to during the reporting period, but not paid at the end of the year, amounted to R38.3 billion. Outstanding claims liabilities – claims settled in previous years that still need to be paid – exceed R177 billion. The auditor-general’s report to the financial statements concludes that there is “significant doubt on the public entity’s ability to continue as a going concern”. RAF chairman Peter Mathebula says

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R2m payout to actor Theunis Nel

Court orders R2m payout to former actor Theunis Nel

15 March 2019 – BY ZELDA VENTER ON IOL.CO.ZA Pretoria – Soapie actor and presenter of various Afrikaans television magazine shows, Theunis Nel, is due to receive R2million in general damages from the Road Accident Fund (RAF) following a motorcycle accident after which his arm had to be amputated. Nel has featured in popular soapies such as Egoli and Sonkring. He also presented several programmes, including Pasella. He was also the producer and director of Woema – a programme featuring the sport of motoring and motorcycling. Nel is a respected member of the motorcycle community. He was involved in an motorcycle accident in 2014 on the N1 highway, near the Garsfontein off-ramp in Pretoria. Netcare 911, which attended to the accident at the time, described his condition as critical. Nel, who temporarily regained consciousness at the scene, recalled that one of the paramedics said he would probably not survive. He

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Government pushes for RABS to become law

Government Pushes For Obscene Road Accident Benefit Scheme To Become Law

5 March 2019 – BY JASON SNYMAN ON COMPAREGURU.CO.ZA Despite universal opposition to the Road Accident Benefit Scheme – which has been labelled as controversial, criminal, obscene, abhorrent, unconstitutional and appalling – the South African government is pushing to get this monstrous scheme passed into law. This article is not for the faint hearted. The Road Accident Benefit Scheme – which has been variously labelled as controversial, criminal, obscene, abhorrent, unconstitutional and appalling – has been reintroduced to Parliament. Because, of course it has. Despite near-universal opposition to the bill – that could see drunk drivers rewarded for causing accidents – the ANC government has forgone all logic and rational thinking in favour of forging ahead, regardless. Because, of course it has. The bill, previously put to vote before the National Assembly in December of last year, was postponed, pending an independent review, after opposition parties (IFP, DA, EFF, UDM,

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GOING THE DIRECT ROUTE – BE WARNED

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) runs a campaign in terms of which they encourage the public to “claim directly” from the Road Accident Fund. A “direct claim” refers to a claim lodged, by a road crash victim, directly with the RAF without the assistance of a legal practitioner. By acting in this manner, the RAF stands in the shoes of a legal practitioner and in doing so assumes a position in which they now have a duty of due diligence and professional care. The RAF, as an organ of state, is subordinate to the Bill of Rights and the Constitution of South Africa, which holds that the RAF, should refrain from interfering with, amongst others, the right of access to court and the right to bodily integrity of the victims of motor vehicle accidents. It is expected of organs of state, like the RAF, to act reasonably and to treat

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