Court battle over floor fees
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. –