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Don't lightly question advocates' honesty' – judge

Publish date: 06 August 2018
Issue Number: 785
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
Category: Practice

While the mayor of one of SA's largest metropoles, Athol Trollip, struggles to hold onto his seat in the face of determined and united opposition parties, a new High Court judgment ensures he will never be forgotten, at least not by the country's lawyers. Legal writer Carmel Rickard, in her A Matter of Justice column on the Legalbrief site explains why the case of Trollip v Troon, concerning taxation of counsel's fees, will be avidly read by court practitioners. The case, says Rickard, was significant for a number of reasons, including providing clarity that the court's taxing authorities may not routinely demand that counsel 'prove their claims'. The judge, she added, said while taxing officers had wide discretion about what costs and expenses to allow and refuse, this did not mean that there was a duty upon practitioners to 'prove their claims'. Absolute integrity and scrupulous honesty was expected of legal practitioners and so a taxing officer was 'entitled to take counsel's fee list at face value as constituting a record of the work that has been done'. 'The honesty and professional ethics of counsel ought not to be lightly questioned,' the judge said.


A Matter of Justice