Law Society of Zimbabwe announces new tariffs
Auxilia Katongomara, Chronicle Reporter
THE Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has announced new tariffs to be charged by legal practitioners ranging from RTGS $90 to $1 050 per hour from the least to the most qualified lawyer with effect from this month.
The new tariffs are for general professional services which include drafting, court attendance, taking instructions and telephone calls and do not cover party and party fees in civil litigation, conveyancing fees, collection commissions and deceased estate administration fees.
In a circular to lawyers, the LSZ said legal practitioners are professionally and legally obliged to charge fees for legal work which are fair and reasonable under all circumstances.
“In order to assist the profession and the public in this regard and to seek a degree of uniformity and consistency, this tariff is recommended by the Council of the Law Society of Zimbabwe for application to all legal work undertaken by legal practitioners, save where some other tariff is applied by law or where the client has agreed to some other rate or basis of charging,” reads the circular.
According to the circular, basic hourly charges vary according to years of experience.
Unregistered law graduates whose names are recorded by the Law Society are expected to charge between RTGS $90 to RTGS $180 while those with less than one year experience will charge from RTGS $150 to RTGS$225 and those with two to four years’ experience will charge from RTGS $210 to RTGS $360.
Those who have been in practice for between five to nine years will charge from RTGS $255 to $450 and from 10 to 14 years it’s RTGS $375 to $630 per hour.
Those with experience ranging between 15 and 19 years will charge RTGS $450 to $810 and those with 20 to 29 years’ experience are expected to charge RTGS$525 to $930 per hour.
The most experienced lawyers with 30 years and above are expected to charge as from RTGS $600 to RTGS$ 1 050.
“The ranges of hourly fees recommended in this tariff are designed to take into account both the varying levels of experience of practitioners and their varying costs of practice. Legal practitioners are entitled to charge rates which are at the lower or upper margins or anywhere in between these margins,” read the circular.
The legal profession regulating body said the fees recommended by the LSZ do not take value added tax into account and it should be added.
“Where a legal practitioner intends to charge fees on a basis which is different from that which is set out in this recommended tariff, it is essential that the client be informed in advance and that the client’s prior agreement to this should be obtained,” reads the circular.
It is preferable to record such agreement in writing.
The Council will regard any rate which is higher than the upper margin of the recommended range as materially different.
The LSZ also set out recommended tariffs for agreement of sale, lease agreement, uncontested divorce and company formation among other charges.