Dubious attorney links

A recent article in The Mercury reports that the practice of attorneys soliciting business from estate agents is rife, but that little tangible evidence exists to charge the perpetrators. Law Society President, Edward Ngubane says that "touting" was unprofessional conduct, punishable with a fine, suspension as an attorney, or being struck off the roll of attorneys.

The Estate Agents Affairs Board has also warned of "severe penalties" for agents found guilty of malpractice. These include fines of up to R25 000 on each count and in serious cases the agent's fidelity fund certificate, or licence to practice could be discontinued. One Durban woman representing several local legal firms said that "backhanders" are now so rife that attorneys were finding it difficult to get conveyancing work from estate agencies unless they agreed to pay a portion back.

KZN Law Society Executive Officer Colin Rees said that conveyancers should remember that their clients were one of the parties to the transaction and not the estate agent.

The Mercury (Subscription required)

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