Not unless you’re poor do you qualify for free legal cover in South Africa, and even then you have to write a poor test. Legal Aid and law clinics offer legal cover to South African citizens who are unable to afford their legal counsel or representation. In order to qualify for this assistance, however, the applicants must complete a means test, which determines if they are in fact poor enough not to afford professional assistance.
While the means test measures an individual’s income and assets to determine wealth, it’s a general rule of thumb that if someone earns more than R5 000 a month, he or she will not qualify for free legal assistance. This in no way means that such individuals can afford legal fees, though. For those who can’t, there’s legal cover, which provides insurance for the following:
Legal cover for legal advice
Your monthly premiums entitle you to an unlimited supply of legal advice which is generally made available to insureds telephonically, via email or during face-to-face consultations. This legal advice is not limited to a certain amount and is usually available 24 hours a day. The advice is intended to assist you with legal matters that you can handle yourself, or recommend that you consult a legal professional, or attorney. The legal advisors will make this recommendation after listening to your problem.
Legal cover for legal representation
Legal insurance also covers legal representation, but unlike the legal advice, this representation is limited to a certain amount. This amount may be set for the insurance period, (such as a year) or per claim. The legal representation covers the costs to hire a professional legal representative and the costs of the court proceedings. The legal insurance company may either have recommended professionals or attorneys to choose from or cover a percentage of your private attorney’s fees. Many legal insurance companies will cover the legal fees but not the damages should you lose a case and be court-ordered to pay a third party.
Legal cover for negotiation and documentation
Often times a legal matter may not involve going to court, but may still require the skills of a legal representative, such as the negotiation of a divorce or the drafting of a will and testament. These fees may be covered by your legal cover, depending on the type you go for. Contract negotiation may also be included, but note that most legal insurance companies do not cover divorce.
You may not be rolling in it, but that doesn’t mean you qualify for free legal aid. Legal cover premiums, though, are cheaper than legal fees. To get a range of quotes, fill in our online form or read more about legal insurance.