The Prosecuting Authorities
The prosecutions unit (“the unit”) of the Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund ( “the Fund”) is located at the Fund’s offices in Centurion, Pretoria. The unit renders assistance to the Claims Department by investigating all claims lodged with the Fund. Once the Fund has paid a claim in terms of section 26 of the Attorneys Act, No. 53 of 1979 ( ‘the Act”), the unit assesses the matter with a view to instituting criminal proceedings against the defaulting attorney.
The unit also provides investigative and legal support to the South African Police Servises and the National Prosecuting Authority during the investigation and prosecution of cases involving theft of trust money by attorneys. In order to ensure the successful prosecution of errant attorneys, the unit also provides training to the stakeholders involved in the investigation and prosecution of defaulting attorneys.
The Joint Stakeholders Committee ( “the JSC”), which is made up of the Fund, the various divisions of the South African Police Services and the National Prosecuting Authority , plays a pivotal role and has greatly contributed to the successful investigation and prosecution of the defaulting attorneys. The JSC serves as a forum where problems relating to the investigation and prosecution of defaulting attorneys are discussed and resolved.
In terms of section 50 of the Act, the Fund is subrogated, to the extent of any payment made by the Fund to a claimant, to all the rights and legal remedies of the claimant against any attorney or any person in relation to whom the claim arose, or in the event of his death or insolvency or other legal disability, against the executor, curator or the trustee of his estate. Pursuant to the principle of subrogation as codified in this section, the unit also institutes civil proceedings against directors and partners of law firms who are jointly and severally liable for the claims paid by the Fund to their former clients.
Enquiries and correspondence relating to the prosecution of attorneys accused of theft of trust money should be addressed to:
The Senior Legal Advisor : Prosecutions
Legal Practitioners Fidelity Fund
PO Box 12189
Tel : 012- 622 3900
Fax: 086 604 8452
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Rigorous Recovery Process set out hereunder:
Recoveries of and from:
- Claims and legal costs have been paid by the Fund
- Potential defaulters – inspection matters where cost have been incurred but no claims paid
- Court Orders wherein defaulters have been ordered to repay the Fund
- Voluntary Walk in Defaulters seeking to make good their misappropriation
Process of Recovery
- Identifying matters as indicated above.
- Engagement with defaulting attorneys to reimburse the Fund for all legal costs, striking off costs and claims paid.
- Signing of repayment agreement by firstly requesting an initial payment equal to 20% of the balance, then the remaining balance to be paid on monthly basis over period of 0 – 60 months
- Consideration and acceptance of any offer will be on the following basis:
- That the defaulter enters a repayment agreement with the Fund.
- That the defaulting attorney demonstrate ability to honour such repayment agreement by providing the following information:
- Income and Expenditure account
- Assets and Liabilities account
- Recent three months’ bank statement
Defaulting Attorneys who don’t honour their repayment agreement
- All defaulting attorneys who don’t honour their agreements are reported back to the Law Society and letter of demands and summons are then issued
- Readmitted attorneys who default on their arrangements are also reported to the Council