We are committed to promoting and protecting our clients interests in a professional and ethical manner. Our relationship with each client is of the utmost importance to us and we want you to be familiar upfront with the nature of the services we provide and the likely charges you will incur. Our TERMS OF ENGAGEMENT letter and information required by FICA will be sent to our new clients. In the meantime the gist of our terms and conditions of engagement are:-
- 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 outside our firm, except if it is necessary or desirable to do so to enable us to carry out your instructions and/or in all other instance only if you provide us with prior written consent to do so.
- In respect of searches and filings in South Africa, SADC or overseas territories, we will provide you with an estimate of our costs for conducting work on your behalf. These are estimates only and do not constitute “quotes”.
- In respect of opinions and/or litigation, i.e. “all other matters” – our fees are based on actual time spent. Examples are: consultations, meetings, telephone calls, research, investigations, perusing and drafting correspondence, letters, travelling, considering the law and facts relating to the matter, briefing counsel, corresponding with other trade mark and patent attorneys and third parties (IP offices, court), instructing agents, etc.
- Our current charges (excluding VAT) typically range from R1800 – R4000 per hour, depending on the experience, seniority and proficiency of the specific professional. In appropriate circumstances our charges may be increased due to the influence of other factors, i.e. urgency, risk and complexity of the matter as well as the difficulty or novelty of the questions involved etc.
- It is our policy to request clients to provide us with forward cover for anticipated costs. Should our estimates exceed the actual amount as “quoted”, the credit balance will be refunded within 7 days of the issue of the invoice.
- Forward cover in the form of a deposit shall be held in trust and this deposit will be applied at the time of invoicing to the settlement of the whole or part of the invoice, whichever is appropriate.
- Interest at the rate of 1% above the prime overdraft interest rate will be charged on amounts unpaid after 30 days from date of invoicing.
- Should you wish to terminate our services, you should do so in writing. We also have the right to withdraw from representating you at our discretion for non-payment of our invoices, failing to receive proper and/or timeous instructions from you, conflict of interest, etc.
- The Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) was recently introduced. In accordance with FICA, de Chalains® – as a firm of attorneys, has to comply with certain requirements. In fact we may not act for and on behalf of new clients unless we have obtained certain FICA specified information about their identity and verified such information.