After their recent day in court against the bank and their SPVs New ERA have been hit by the bill.
R60,000 for One Day’s Work
On December 21st last year, the New Economic Rights Alliance attempted to stop the foreclosure of 1,100 people in the Johannesburg High Court. The case was lost with costs. Judge Brian Spilg indicated that the case had merit, but was not urgent enough to warrant the application being granted at that time. He only had one evening to review the papers.
Four separate attorney firms represented the banks and Special Purpose Vehicles in Court. A Special Purpose Vehicle (“SPV”) is a conduit used by the banks to trade bundles of customer home loans, car loans and vehicle loans on the stock and bond markets.
The bill for one attorney firm, Norton Rose, came to R66,706.44. Their Senior Counsel, Adv. Shem Symon, submitted a bill of R59,052.00. His appearance fee for arguing the case in Court against NewERA, which lasted no more than twenty minutes, was R28,000.00.
Mr Symon was just one of four advocates appearing for the banks and SPV’s. Advocate ARG Mundell’s fees were R44,688.00, Advocate Casterson came in at R31,900 and Rosalind Stevenson billed a more gentle R13,000.
“We are trying to make banking transparent and save people’s homes, cars and livelihoods. We are a non-profit organisation acting in the public interest and this is about justice for the public” says NewERA Chairman, Scott Cundill.
Currently, legal fees are being debated in a draft Legal Practice Bill which, seeks to reform the justice system. The bill is currently up for Public Debate and NewERA commented on the bill last year.
“As long as a lawyer can be paid five times more for a day’s work than a single mine worker earns in a month, we have a problem” says NewERA.
NewERA is preparing to appeal the cost order against them.