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Fees issue

The Association conceded that it was in contravention of the Competition Act 89 of 1998 even though it had never intended the recommended fees to be binding on its members. It agreed to withdraw the offending guidelines and undertook not to re-issue them or similar guidelines. The booklet "Guideline for Attorneys and Own Client Fees" was found to have the indirect effect of fixing prices. This is regarded as a restricted practice in s4(1)(b)(i) of the Act, for which there is no defence whether the tariffs were enforced or not.

This ruling could have wide-ranging consequences for any professional association in the habit of publishing guidelines for fee-setting or recommended tariffs.

Full report on News24

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