Legal fees can often be very high, and both employers and employees are often looking for an affordable labour lawyer for legal advice and legal representation in the CCMA and the Labour Court.
However, as the old saying goes: “you get what you pay for”, and therefore cost should not be the only consideration when choosing a lawyer. Other important factors that are important include the lawyer’s level of skill and experience.
That being said, not all lawyers charge exorbitant fees, and it is possible to find an affordable labour lawyer and to still get good legal advice and representation.
Many lawyers also require a deposit before they commence work, to ensure that they have “cover” for their fees. This avoids a situation where the lawyer does the work and the client refuses or fails to pay the lawyer’s fees.
There are also some lawyers who charge on a “no-win-no-fee” basis. This is also referred to as a contingency fee arrangement, where the lawyer only gets paid if the client is successful in obtaining an arbitration award or judgment in his / her favour, or in securing a settlement of the case.
In terms of contingency fee arrangements, a contingency fee agreement must be signed with the lawyer up-front, and it regulates the terms of the lawyer’s engagement as well as the contingency fee that is payable. There is a legal limit on the contingency fee that can be charged, and it cannot be more than 25% of the amount that the client wins, or twice the lawyer’s ordinary hourly rate (whichever is the smaller amount).
In all cases, it is a good idea to discuss fees with the lawyer beforehand. That way, you will know what to expect and and you will not get a nasty surprise at the end of the month when you receive the lawyer’s account.