Unless you’re ridiculously indigent, you can’t qualify for free legal assistance in South Africa. Given that you’re well off enough to be connected to the Internet, we’ll assume you’re not poor enough to get Legal Aid, which is why you might need legal cover. Legal cover in South Africa is a specialized insurance product that covers the fees and expenses involved in legal disputes. The following recounts what legal insurance covers and what it does not.
Legal cover in South Africa covers legal advice
After having opted into a legal insurance policy, you will be able to contact your legal insurance company night and day for advice. This 24-hour service is free and available telephonically and face-to-face. (Only some legal insurance companies provide legal advice via email and fax.)
The legal advice is available from a legal advisor or lawyer (not usually an attorney) on civil, criminal and labour matters. Most legal insurance companies do not provide cover for, nor advice relating to, matters of divorce.
Legal cover in South Africa covers legal representation
Legal insurance will cover the cost to have an attorney represent you in a court of law, but this is limited to a certain amount per case or per year and also to certain claims. Again, most legal cover companies will not cover legal representation for divorce. The company will either stipulate that only their attorneys be used or that you may select your own attorney, but only a portion of his or her fees will be covered by the legal insurance company.
Representation includes the costs of the attorney outside of court, familiarizing him- or herself with the case and building a defense. Often an attorney may decide after reviewing the case not to take it on. Legal cover will cover this, but it does reduce how much you can claim for next time.
Legal cover in South Africa covers negotiation
Other than for divorce, legal cover in South Africa includes private negotiations. This may include negotiating contracts for sale and purchase of a home, or between businesses. Given their repercussions and importance, these contracts require the skills of an attorney.
Read more about legal cover in South Africa or get legal cover by filling in the form on this page.