Court bat­tle over floor fees

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS - Quin­ton Mtyala

THE CAPE Bar Coun­cil was due to face off with an ad­vo­cate this morn­ing over un­paid “floor dues” in the West­ern Cape High Court, but crit­ics say the is­sue touches on trans­for­ma­tion within the le­gal fra­ter­nity.

The coun­cil wants the court to or­der Fairuz Se­ria to pay her floor fees to “Group 10”, a vol­un­tary as­so­ci­a­tion of ad­vo­cates who col­lec­tively pay for the use of kitchen, of­fice and re­cep­tion ser­vices.

Se­ria, in her af­fi­davit, has asked the court to over­rule a dis­ci­plinary find­ing of the coun­cil’s sub­com­mit­tee which found her guilty of un­pro­fes­sional con­duct and or­dered that she pay all out­stand­ing floor fees.

Group 10 had in­di­cated it would raise fees af­ter it had in­curred a loss of R6 334 and a tax li­a­bil­ity of R150 000. Floor dues were raised to R3 000 from De­cem­ber 2015, which would then be in­creased 10% for each year.

Se­ria, in a writ­ten re­sponse, said she would not be able to af­ford the in­creased fees. On De­cem­ber 9, 2015, Se­ria’s floor ser­vices were cut. She then re­signed from Group 10. Se­ria’s col­league Pearl Mathi­bela said that de­spite hav­ing re­signed, Group 10 con­tin­ued to bill her ev­ery month. A com­plaint was lodged with the Cape Bar Coun­cil, which threat­ened to ex­pel her as an ad­vo­cate.

Cape Bar Coun­cil chair­per­son Louise Buik­man said the ap­pli­cant had not been sub­ject to any dis­crim­i­na­tion.

She said de­spite the claims from Se­ria, the Cape Bar was com­mit­ted to trans­form. –

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