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Lawyers in shocking fees hike . . . $18 000 to file for divorce

By Thandeka Moyo

The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) has revised upwards legal fees for its members, which will see members of the public paying up to $5 250 per hour for legal services and at least $18 000 to file for a divorce.

Hundreds of Zimbabwean lawyers marched on Tuesday to demand justice for people detained in jail and others facing fast-track trials after violent protests this month led to mass arrests and a brutal security crackdown.
FILE PICTURE of hundreds of Zimbabwean lawyers marching to demand justice for people detained in jail and others facing fast-track trials after violent protests in 2019 led to mass arrests and a brutal security crackdown.

In a statement, LSZ said legal practitioners are professionally and legally obliged to charge fees for legal work which are fair and reasonable in all the circumstances.

The new tariffs are for general professional services which include drafting, court attendance, taking instructions and telephone calls and do not cover fees in civil litigation, conveyancing fees, collection commissions and deceased estate administration fees.

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According to the new tariffs, uncontested divorce with or without consent paper, with minimal negotiations and including appearance in Court, where necessary, will now cost plaintiff ZWL$18 000 and defendant ZWL$12 000.

LSZ said basic hourly charges vary according to years of experience.

“Unregistered law graduates whose names are recorded by the Law Society are expected to charge $900 while those with less than one-year experience will charge $1 800,” read the circular.

Those who have been in the practice for five to nine years will be charging $2 250 while those with 10–14 years experience will charge $3 150.

“Legal practitioners with 15 to 19 years of experience will be expected to charge $4 050 while those with 20 to 29 years will be charging $4 650. Those with over 30 years’ experience will charge $5 250.”

Other services like agreement of sale for a residential property or farm will cost $7 500 or one percent of the selling price — whichever is the greater while agreement of sale for a business or shares will cost $12 000 or 2 percent of the selling price, whichever is the greater. The Chronicle

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