Standard Terms of Engagement

These standard terms will apply whenever you engage VGV to act on your behalf. You accept and agree to these standard terms by continuing to engage us. You also agree that in accepting these terms, you agree that these terms shall apply to all related entities in which you have an interest and for whom we accept instructions.


We will do our best to be available to you and provide services which are accurate and timely. You can help us do this by:

  • giving us clear instructions on a timely basis in writing if possible;
  • provide us with accurate and complete information;
  • advising us if you have any time limits;
  • making sure we understand each other and asking questions if you are not sure about something;
  • keeping in regular touch with us;
  • informing us if you have changed your address or any other contact details or if you are going to be away from your usual point of contact for an extended period of time;
  • paying our invoices as and when they become due.


We will provide you with the legal services as agreed to during our initial consultation unless a conflict of interest or other factors prevent us from doing so. Should the aforementioned occur, we will contact you immediately. Our duty of care is to you and our advice may only be relied on by you as our client, and we accept no liability to any third party for advice given to you. Before any other person may rely on our advice we must expressly agree to this.


We have the usual authority of an attorney to act on your behalf in relation to each instruction which we accept, including, where reasonable, to incur expenses and to engage Advocates, experts or law firms in other areas or jurisdictions to assist

Usually, one Director will have overall responsibility for the work on each matter. From time to time, other members of our professional staff may also be involved if a particular skill is required or if it is more cost-effective to have others attend to other aspects of work.


Apart from certain tariff-bound legal work, e.g. collection matters, all fees will be debited on an hourly rate basis. The hourly charge-out rate of each attorney is obtainable from the attorney him-/herself and will be adjusted annually on 1 July and will apply immediately to ongoing instructions. We will advise you as soon as reasonably practicable if it becomes necessary for us to provide services outside the agreed scope and, if requested, give you an estimate of the likely amount of the further costs. Such estimate should however not be regarded as a quote and we have the right to debit our full fee and disbursements notwithstanding the estimate given to you for the particular matter.

In billing you, the following factors will also be taken into account:

  • the skill, specialised knowledge and responsibility required to perform the work properly;
  • the complexity of the work and the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved;
  • the experience, reputation and ability of the Attorney;
  • the urgency and circumstances in which the matter is undertaken and any time limitations imposed, including those imposed by you;
  • the importance of the matter to you and the results achieved;
  •  the degree of risk assumed by us in undertaking the work including the amount or value of any property involved;
  • the fee customarily charged in the market and locality for similar legal services;
  • the possibility that the acceptance of a retainer will preclude engagement of the attorney by other clients;
  • whether the fee is fixed or conditional;
  • any quote or estimate is given by the attorney
  • any fee agreement entered into between the attorney and the client;
  • our reasonable costs in running our practice and
  •  our time and labour expended.

You should, therefore, note that time expended on a matter is only one factor taken into account when invoicing a client.


In providing services to you we may incur disbursements or have to make payments to third parties on your behalf. These will be included in our invoice to you when the expense is incurred. We may require an advance payment for the disbursements or expenses which we will be incurring on your behalf.


We will send you an invoice for our fees, disbursements and expenses either;

  • monthly while the work is in progress(an interim invoice); and/or
  • when the work is completed.

We may also send you an invoice when we incur a significant expense.
Although you may expect to be reimbursed by a third party for our fees and expenses and although our invoices may at your request or with your approval be directed to a third party, nevertheless, you remain responsible for payment to us if the third party fails to pay us.

It should also be noted that, although we may be successful in litigation on your behalf, it will not always result in full recovery from the other party of the fees and disbursements paid or payable to us. Notwithstanding the extent of your success in the recovery of such fees and disbursements from the other party, you are still liable for the payment of our fees and disbursements.


Invoices are payable upon presentation unless alternative arrangements have been made with us. Such an arrangement will only be of force if agreed to by a Director of our firm. When we have funds held in our Trust Account on your behalf, you authorise us to pay our accounts by deduction from those funds except where we receive the funds from you for a special purpose other than security for our fees

If payment to us of any invoice by you is overdue, we may:

  • cease performing any further work for you until all unpaid invoices are paid in full;
  • retain custody of any of your property(including documents or files) until all unpaid invoices are paid in full; and
  • charge interest on any amount overdue at a rate of 15.5% per annum.


We will hold in confidence all information concerning you or your affairs that we acquire during the course of acting for you. We will not disclose any of this information to any other person except:

  • to the extent necessary or desirable for us to carry out your instructions; or
  • to the extent required by law or by the Law Society of South Africa.

Confidential information concerning you will, as far as practicable, be made available only to those within our firm who are providing legal services for you. We will of course, not disclose to you confidential information which we have in relation to any other client.


We retain all ownership rights in all intellectual property of any kind created by us for you. You may not reproduce our intellectual property or provide it to a third party without our express consent.


We are entitled to retain your papers and documents while there is money owing to us for our fees, disbursements and expenses. You authorise us (without further reference to you) to destroy all files and documents for this matter (other than any documents we hold in safe custody for you) 5 years after our engagement ends.

Should documents be archived by us and you request to retrieve documents relating to a finalised matter a reasonable fee may be charged for all attendances in aforementioned regard.


We will comply with the rules of Conflict of Interest. If a conflict of interest arises we will advise you of this and follow the requirements and procedures set out in the rules of the Law Society.


You may terminate this agreement in writing at any time. Should this occur, you will pay our fees, disbursements and expenses that have been incurred up to the time of termination. We may terminate our agreement if:

  • you do not pay our accounts on the due date;
  •  you do not provide us with adequate instructions within a reasonable time of us requesting them;
  • you do not accept an offer of settlement which we think is reasonable;
  • you do not accept advice we, or an Advocate, give you;
  • we, on reasonable grounds, believe that we may have a conflict of interest;
  • you misrepresent or fail to disclose any material facts in the course of our representation;
  • if anything else occurs that in our judgment impairs an effective attorney-client relationship.


We may communicate with you and others at any times by electronic means and we do not accept responsibility for, and will not be liable for any damage or loss caused in connection with the interception or corruption of electronic communication.


We maintain a procedure for handling any complaints by clients, designed to ensure that complaints are dealt with fairly and promptly.
If you have a complaint about our services please direct it to the Partner responsible for your work. It would be preferred that such a complaint should be lodged in writing.

Your complaint will be investigated and we will report to you.


The purpose of these Terms of Engagement is to set out our professional relationship with you when we accept and act on your instructions. These Terms of Engagement will apply except where we otherwise agree with you in writing.

These terms apply to any current engagement and also to any future engagement, whether or not we send you another copy of them.

We are entitled to change these terms from time to time in which case we will post such amended terms on our website or send you amended terms.