The Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund, as permitted by the Act, has contracted with the Insurer to provide professional indemnity insurance to the Insured, in a sustainable manner and with due regard for the interests of the public by:
- protecting the integrity, esteem, status and assets of the Insured and the legal profession;
- protecting the public against indemnifiable and provable losses arising out of Legal Services provided by the Insured, on the basis set out in this policy.
- Act: The Attorneys Act 53 of 1979 (as amended or as replaced by the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014). Where there is any reference to a specific section of the current Act in this Policy, then such reference will be to a corresponding section in the Legal Practice Act when that section comes into effect;
- Annual Amount of Cover: The total available amount of cover for the Insurance Year for the aggregate of payments made for all Claims, Approved Costs and Claimants’ Costs in respect of any Legal Practice as set out in Schedule A;
- Approved Costs: Legal and other costs incurred by the Insured with the Insurer’s prior written permission (which will be in the Insurer’s sole discretion) in attempting to prevent a Claim or limit the amount a Claim;
- Legal Practitioners’ Fidelity Fund: As referred to in Section 25 of the Act;
- Bridging Finance: The provision of short-term finance to a party to a Conveyancing Transaction before it has been registered in the Deeds Registry;
- Claim: A written demand for compensation from the Insured, which arises out of the Insured’s provision of Legal Services; (For the purposes of this definition, a written demand is any written communication or legal document that either makes a demand for or intimates or implies an intention to demand compensation or damages from an Insured);
- Claimant’s Costs: The legal costs the Insured is obliged to pay to a claimant by order of a court, arbitrator, or by an agreement approved by the Insurer;
- Conveyancing Transaction: A transaction which:
- involves the transfer of legal title to or the registration of a real right in immovable property from one or more legal entities or natural persons to another; and/or
- involves the registration or cancellation of any mortgage bond or real right over immovable property; and/or
- is required to be registered in any Deeds Registry in the Republic of South Africa, in terms of any relevant legislation;
- Cybercrime: Any criminal or other offence that is facilitated by or involves the use of electronic communications or information systems, including any device or the internet or any one or more of them. (The device may be the agent, the facilitator or the target of the crime or offence);
- Defence Costs: The reasonable costs the Insurer (or Insured – with the Insurer’s consent) incurs in investigating and defending a Claim against an Insured;
- Dishonest: Bears its ordinary meaning but includes conduct which may occur without an Insured’s subjective purpose, motive or intent, but which a reasonable legal practitioner would consider to be deceptive or untruthful or lacking integrity or conduct which is generally not in keeping with the ethics of the legal profession;
- Employee: A person who is or was employed or engaged by the Legal Practice to assist in providing Legal Services. (This includes in-house legal consultants, associates, professional assistants, candidate attorneys, paralegals and clerical staff but does not include an independent contractor who is not a Practitioner.);
- Excess: The first amount payable by the Insured (or deductible) in respect of each and every Claim (including Claimant’s Costs) as set out in schedule B.
- Fidelity Fund Certificate: A certificate provided in terms of section 42 of the Act, or a certificate issued in terms of section 85(6) of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 read with Rules 3, 47, 48 and 49 of the South African Legal Practice Council Rules made under the authority of section 95(1) of the Legal Practice Act;
- Innocent Principal: Each present or former Principal who:
- may be liable for the debts and liabilities of the Legal Practice;
- did not personally commit or participate in committing the Dishonest, fraudulent or other criminal act and had no knowledge or awareness of such act;
- Insured: The persons or entities referred to in clauses 5 and 6 of this policy;
- Insurer: The Legal Practitioners’ Indemnity Insurance Fund NPC, Reg. No. 93/03588/08;
- Insurance Year: The period covered by the policy, which runs from 1 July of the first year to 30 June of the following year;
- Legal Practice: The person or entity listed in clause 5 of this policy;
- Legal Services: Work reasonably done or advice given in the ordinary course of carrying on the business of a Legal Practice in the Republic of South Africa in accordance with the provisions of section 33 of the Legal Practice Act. Work done or advice given on the law applicable in jurisdictions other than the Republic of South Africa are specifically excluded, unless provided by a person admitted to practise in the applicable jurisdiction;
- Practitioner: Any attorney, advocate, notary or conveyancer as defined in the Act;
- Prescription Alert: The computerised back-up diary system that the Insurer makes available to the Insured;
- Principal: A sole Practitioner, partner or director of a Legal Practice or any person who is publicly held out to be a partner or director of a Legal Practice;
- Risk Management Questionnaire: A self-assessment questionnaire which can be downloaded from or completed on the Insurer’s website (www.lpiif.co.za) and which must be completed annually by the senior partner or director or designated risk manager of the Insured as referred to in clause 5;
- Road Accident Fund claim (RAF): A claim for compensation for losses in respect of bodily injury or death caused by, arising from or in any way connected with the driving of a motor vehicle (as defined in the Road Accident Fund Act 56 of 1996 or any predecessor or successor of that Act) in the Republic of South Africa;
- Senior Practitioner: A Practitioner with no less than 15 years’ standing in the legal profession;
- Trading Debt: A debt incurred as a result of the undertaking of the Insured’s business or trade. (Trading debts are not compensatory in nature and this policy deals only with claims for compensation.) This exclusion includes (but is not limited to) the following:
- a refund of any fee or disbursement charged by the Insured to a client;
- damages or compensation or payment calculated by reference to any fee or disbursement charged by the Insured to a client;
- payment of costs relating to a dispute about fees or disbursements charged by the Insured to a client; and/or
- any labour dispute or act of an administrative nature in the Insured’s
What cover is provided by this policy?
- On the basis set out in this policy, the Insurer agrees to indemnify the Insured against professional legal liability to pay compensation to any third party
- that arises out of the provision of Legal Services by the Insured; and
- where the Claim is first made against the Insured during the current Insurance Year.
- The Insurer agrees to indemnify the Insured for Claimants’ Costs and Defence Costs on the basis set out in this policy.
- The Insurer agrees to indemnify the Insured for Approved Costs in connection with any Claim referred to in clause 1.
- The Insurer will not indemnify the Insured in the current Insurance Year, if the circumstance giving rise to the Claim has previously been notified to the Insurer by the Insured in an earlier Insurance Year, on the basis set out in clause 38.
Who is insured?
- Provided that each Principal had a Fidelity Fund Certificate at the time of the circumstance, act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim , the Insurer insures all Legal Practices providing Legal Services, including:
- a sole Practitioner;
- a partnership of Practitioners;
- an incorporated Legal Practice; and
- an advocate referred to in section 34 (2)(b) of the Legal Practice Act.
- The following are included in the cover, subject to the Annual Amount of Cover applicable to the Legal Practice:
- a Principal of a Legal Practice providing Legal Services, provided that the Principal had a Fidelity Fund Certificate at the time of the circumstance, act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim;
- a previous Principal of a Legal Practice providing Legal Services, provided that that Principal had a Fidelity Fund Certificate at the time of the circumstance, act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim;
- an Employee of a Legal Practice providing Legal Services at the time of the circumstance, act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim;
- the estates or legal representatives of the people referred to in clauses 6(a), 6(b) and 6(c).
- subject to clause 16(c), a liquidator or trustee in an insolvent estate, where the appointment is or was motivated solely because the Insured is a Practitioner and the fees derived from such appointment are paid directly to the Legal Practice.
Amount of cover
- The Annual Amount of Cover, as set out in Schedule A, is calculated by reference to the number of Principals that made up the Legal Practice on the date of the circumstance, act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim. A change during the course of an insurance year in the composition of a legal practice which is a partnership will not constitute a new legal practice for purposes of this policy and would not entitle that legal practice to more than one limit of indemnity in respect of that insurance year.
- Schedule A sets out the maximum Annual Amount of Cover that the Insurer provides per Legal Practice. This amount includes payment of compensation (capital and interest) as well as Claimant’s Costs and Approved Costs.
- Cover for Approved Costs is limited to 25% of the Annual Amount of Cover or such other amount that the Insurer may allow in its sole discretion.
Insured’s excess payment
- The Insured must pay the Excess in respect of each Claim, directly to the claimant or the claimant’s legal representatives, immediately it becomes due and payable. Where two or more Claims are made simultaneously, each Claim will attract its own Excess and to the extent that one or more Claims arise from the same circumstance, act, error or omission the Insured must pay the Excess in respect of each such Claim;
- The Excess is calculated by reference to the number of Principals that made up the Legal Practice on the date of the circumstance, act, error or omission giving rise to the Claim, and the type of matter giving rise to the Claim, as set out in Schedule B.
- The Excess set out in column A of Schedule B applies:
- in the case of a Claim arising out of the prescription of a Road Accident Fund claim. This Excess increases by an additional 20% if Prescription Alert has not been used and complied with by the Insured, by timeous lodgement and service of summons in accordance with the reminders sent by Prescription Alert;
- in the case of a Claim arising from a Conveyancing Transaction.
- In the case of a Claim where clause 20 applies, the excess increases by an additional 20%.
- No Excess applies to Approved costs or Defence costs.
- The Excess set out in column B of Schedule B applies to all other types of Claim.
What is excluded from cover?
- This policy does not cover any liability for compensation:
- arising out of or in connection with the Insured’s Trading Debts or those of any Legal Practice or business managed by or carried on by the Insured;
- arising from or in connection with misappropriation or unauthorised borrowing by the Insured or Employee or agent of the Insured or of the Insured’s predecessors in practice, of any money or other property belonging to a client or third party and/or as referred to in Section 26 of the Act;
- which is insured or could more appropriately have been insured under any other valid and collectible insurance available to the Insured, covering a loss arising out of the normal course and conduct of the business or where the risk has been guaranteed by a person or entity, either in general or in respect of a particular transaction, to the extent to which it is covered by the guarantee. This includes but is not limited to Misappropriation of Trust Funds, Personal Injury, Commercial and Cybercrime insurance policies;
- arising from or in terms of any judgment or order(s) obtained in the first instance other than in a court of competent jurisdiction within the Republic of South Africa;
- arising from or in connection with the provision of investment advice, the administration of any funds or taking of any deposits as contemplated in:
- the Banks Act 94 of 1990;
- the Financial Advisory and Intermediary Services Act 37 of 2002;
- the Agricultural Credit Act 28 of 1996 as amended or replaced;
- any law administered by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority and/or the South African Reserve Bank and any regulations issued thereunder;
- the Medical Schemes Act 131 of 1998 as amended or replaced;
- arising where the Insured is instructed to invest money on behalf of any person, except for an instruction to invest the funds in an interest-bearing account in terms of section 78(2A) of the Act, and if such investment is done pending the conclusion or implementation of a particular matter or transaction which is already in existence or about to come into existence at the time the investment is made;
- This exclusion does not apply (subject to the other provisions of this policy) to funds which the Insured is authorised to invest in his or her capacity as executor, trustee, curator or in any similar representative capacity;
- arising from or in connection with any fine, penalty, punitive or exemplary damages awarded against the Insured, or from an order against the Insured to pay costs de bonis propriis;
- arising out of or in connection with any work done on behalf of an entity defined in the Housing Act 107 of 1997 or its representative, with respect to the National Housing Programme provided for in the Housing Act;
- directly or indirectly arising from, or in connection with or as a consequence of the provision of Bridging Finance in respect of a Conveyancing Transaction. This exclusion does not apply where Bridging Finance has been provided for the payment of:
- transfer duty and costs;
- municipal or other rates and taxes relating to the immovable property which is to be transferred;
- levies payable to the body corporate or homeowners’ association relating to the immovable property which is to be transferred;
- arising from the Insured’s having given an unqualified undertaking legally binding his or her practice, in matters where the fulfilment of that undertaking is dependent on the act or omission of a third party;
- arising out of or in connection with a breach of contract unless such breach is a breach of professional duty by the Insured;
- arising where the Insured acts or acted as a business rescue practitioner as defined in section 128 (1) (d) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008;
- arising out of or in connection with the receipt or payment of funds, whether into or from trust or otherwise, where that receipt or payment is unrelated to or unconnected with a particular matter or transaction which is already in existence or about to come into existence, at the time of the receipt or payment and in respect of which the Insured has received a mandate;
- arising out of a defamation Claim that is brought against the Insured ;
- arising out of Cybercrime;
- arising out of a Claim against the Insured by an entity in which the Insured and/or related or interrelated persons* has/have a material interest and/or hold/s a position of influence or control**.
- as defined in section 2(1) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008
- ** as defined in section 2(2) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008
- For the purposes of this paragraph, “material interest” means an interest of at least ten (10) percent in the entity;
- arising out of or in connection with a Claim resulting from:
- War, invasion, act of foreign enemy, hostilities or warlike operations (whether war is declared or not) civil war, mutiny, insurrection, rebellion, revolution, military or usurped power;
- Any action taken in controlling, preventing, suppressing or in any way relating to the excluded situations in (i) above including, but not limited to, confiscation, nationalisation, damage to or destruction of property by or under the control of any Government or Public or Local Authority;
- Any act of terrorism regardless of any other cause contributing concurrently or in any other sequence to the loss;
- For the purpose of this exclusion, terrorism includes an act of violence or any act dangerous to human life, tangible or intangible property or infrastructure with the intention or effect to influence any Government or to put the public or any section of the public in fear;
- arising out of or in connection with any Claim resulting from:
- ionising radiations or contamination by radio-activity from any nuclear fuel or from any nuclear waste from the combustion or use of nuclear fuel;
- nuclear material, nuclear fission or fusion, nuclear radiation;
- nuclear explosives or any nuclear weapon;
- nuclear waste in whatever form; regardless of any other cause or event contributing concurrently or in any other sequence to the loss.
- For the purpose of this exclusion only, combustion includes any self-sustaining process of nuclear fission or fusion;
- arising out of or resulting from the hazardous nature of asbestos in whatever form or quantity; and
- Legal Services carried out in violation of the Act and the Rules.
Fraudulent applications for indemnity
- The Insurer will reject a fraudulent application for indemnity.
Claims arising out of dishonesty or fraud
- Any Insured will not be indemnified for a Claim that arises:
- directly or indirectly from any Dishonest, fraudulent or other criminal act or omission by that Insured;
- directly or indirectly from any Dishonest, fraudulent or other criminal act or omission by another party and that Insured was knowingly connected with, or colluded with or condoned or acquiesced or was party to that dishonesty, fraud or other criminal act or omission. Subject to clauses 16, 19 and 20, this exclusion does not apply to an Innocent Principal.
- In the event of a Claim to which clause 18 applies, the Insurer will have the discretion not to make any payment, before the Innocent Principal takes all reasonable action to:
- institute criminal proceedings against the alleged Dishonest party and present proof thereof to the Insurer; and/or
- sue for and obtain reimbursement from any such alleged Dishonest party or its or her or his estate or legal representatives; Any benefits due to the alleged Dishonest party held by the Legal Practice, must, to the extent allowable by law, be deducted from the Legal Practice’s loss.
- Where the Dishonest conduct includes:
- the witnessing (or purported witnessing) of the signing or execution of a document without seeing the actual signing or execution; or
- the making of a representation (including, but not limited to, a representation by way of a certificate, acknowledgement or other document) which was known at the time it was made to be false; The Excess payable by the Innocent Insured will be increased by an additional 20%.
- If the Insurer makes a payment of any nature under the policy in connection with a Claim and it later emerges that it wholly or partly arose from a Dishonest, fraudulent or other criminal act or omission of the Insured, the Insurer will have the right to recover full repayment from that Insured and any party knowingly connected with that Dishonest, fraudulent or criminal act or omission.
The Insured’s rights and duties
- The Insured must;
- give immediate written notice to the Insurer of any circumstance, act, error or omission that may give rise to a Claim; and
- notify the Insurer in writing as soon as practicable, of any Claim made against them, but by no later than one (1) week after receipt by the Insured, of a written demand or summons/counterclaim or application. In the case of a late notification of receipt of the written demand, summons or application by the Insured, the Insurer reserves the right not to indemnify the Insured for costs and ancillary charges incurred prior to or as a result of such late notification.
- Once the Insured has notified the Insurer, the Insurer will require the Insured to provide a completed Risk Management Questionnaire and to complete a claim form providing all information reasonably required by the Insurer in respect of the Claim. The Insured will not be entitled to indemnity until the claim form and Risk Management Questionnaire have been completed by the Insured, to the Insurer’s reasonable satisfaction and returned to the Insurer.
- The Insured:
- shall not cede or assign any rights in terms of this policy;
- agrees not to, without the Insurer’s prior written consent:
- admit or deny liability for a Claim;
- settle a Claim;
- incur any costs or expenses in connection with a Claim unless the sum of the Claim and Claimant’s Costs falls within the Insured’s Excess; failing which, the Insurer will be entitled to reject the Claim, but will have sole discretion to agree to provide indemnity, wholly or partly.
- The Insured agrees to give the Insurer and any of its appointed agents:
- all information and documents that may be reasonably required, at the Insured’s own expense.
- assistance and cooperation, which includes, but not limited to, preparing, service and filing of notices and pleadings by the Insured as specifically instructed by the Insurer at the Insurer’s expense, which expenses must be agreed to in writing.
- The Insured also gives the Insurer or its appointed agents the right of reasonable access to the Insured’s premises, staff and records for purposes of inspecting or reviewing them in the conduct of an investigation of any Claim where the Insurer believes such review or inspection is necessary.
- Notwithstanding anything else contained in this policy, should the Insured fail or refuse to provide information, documents, assistance or cooperation in terms of this policy, to the Insurer or its appointed agents and remain in breach for a period of ten (10) working days after receipt of written notice to remedy such breach (from the Insurer or its appointed agents) the Insurer has the right to:
- withdraw indemnity; and/or
- report the Insured’s conduct to the regulator; and/or
- recover all payments and expenses incurred by it. For the purposes of this paragraph, written notice will be sent to the address last provided to the Insurer by the Insured and will be deemed to have been received five (5) working days after electronic transmission or posting by registered mail.
- By complying with the obligation to disclose all documents and information required by the Insurer and its legal representatives, the Insured does not waive any claim of legal professional privilege or confidentiality.
- Where a breach of, or non-compliance with any term of this policy by the Insured has resulted in material prejudice to the handling or settlement of any Claim against the Insured, the Insured will reimburse the Insurer the difference between the sum payable by the Insurer in respect of that Claim and the sum which would in the sole opinion of the Insurer have been payable in the absence of such prejudice. It is a condition precedent of the Insurer’s right to obtain reimbursement, that the Insurer has fully indemnified the Insured in terms of this policy.
- Written notice of any new Claim must be given to: Legal Practitioners’ Indemnity Insurance Fund NPC, 1256 Heuwel Avenue|Centurion|0127, PO Box 12189|Die Hoewes|0163, Docex 24 | Centurion, Email: email@example.com, Tel:+27(0)12 622 3900
The Insurer’s rights and duties
- The Insured agrees that:
- the Insurer has full discretion in the conduct of the Claim against the Insured including, but not limited to, its investigation, defence, settlement or appeal in the name of the Insured;
- the Insurer has the right to appoint its own legal representative(s) or service providers to act in the conduct and the investigation of the Claim;The exercise of the Insurer’s discretion in terms of a) will not be unreasonable.
- The Insurer agrees that it will not settle any Claim against any Insured without prior consultation with that Insured. However, if the Insured does not accept the Insurer’s recommendation for settlement:
- the Insurer will not cover further Defence Costs and Claimant’s Costs beyond the date of the Insurer’s recommendation to the Insured; and
- the Insurer’s obligation to indemnify the Insured will be limited to the amount of its recommendation for settlement or the Insured’s available Annual Amount of Cover (whichever is the lesser amount).
- If the amount of any Claim exceeds the Insured’s available Annual Amount of Cover the Insurer may, in its sole discretion, hold or pay over such amount or any lesser amount for which the Claim can be settled. The Insurer will thereafter be under no further liability in respect of such a Claim, except for the payment of Approved Costs or Defence Costs incurred prior to the date on which the Insurer notifies the Insured of its
- Where the Insurer indemnifies the Insured in relation to only part of any Claim, the Insurer will be responsible for only the portion of the Defence Costs that reflects an amount attributable to the matters so indemnified. The Insurer reserves the right to determine that proportion in its absolute discretion.
- In the event of the Insured’s material non-disclosure or misrepresentation in respect of the application for indemnity, the Insurer reserves the right to report the Insured’s conduct to the regulator and to recover any amounts that it may have incurred as a result of the Insured’s
- If the Insurer makes payment under this policy, it will not require the Insured’s consent to take over the Insured’s right to recover (whether in the Insurer’s name or the name of the Insured) any amounts paid by the Insurer;
- All recoveries made in respect of any Claim under this policy will be applied (after deduction of the costs, fees and expenses incurred in obtaining such recovery) in the following order of priority:
- the Insured will first be reimbursed for the amount by which its liability in respect of such Claim exceeded the Amount of Cover provided by this policy;
- the Insurer will then be reimbursed for the amount of its liability under this policy in respect of such Claim;
- any remaining amount will be applied toward the Excess paid by the Insured in respect of such Claim.
- If the Insured gives notice during an Insurance Year, of any circumstance, act, error or omission (or a related series of acts, errors or omissions) which may give rise to a Claim or Claims, then any Claim or Claims in respect of that/those circumstance/s, act/s, error/s or omission/s subsequently made against the Insured, will for the purposes of this policy be considered to fall within one Insurance Year, being the Insurance Year of the first notice.
- This policy does not give third parties any rights against the Insurer.
How the parties will resolve disputes
- Subject to the provisions of this policy, any dispute or disagreement between the Insured and the Insurer as to any right to indemnity in terms of this policy or as to any matter arising out of or in connection with this policy, must be dealt with in the following order:
- written submissions by the Insured must be referred to the Insurer’s internal complaints/dispute team at firstname.lastname@example.org or to the address set out in clause 30 of this policy, within thirty (30) days of receipt of the written communication from the Insurer which has given rise to the dispute;
- should the dispute not have been resolved within thirty (30) days from the date of receipt by the Insurer of the submission referred to in a) then the parties must agree on an independent Senior Practitioner, to which the dispute can be referred for a determination. Failing an agreement, the choice of such Senior Practitioner must be referred to the President of the Law Society (or his/her successor in title) having jurisdiction over the Insured;
- the parties must make written submissions which will be referred for determination to the Senior Practitioner referred to in b). The costs incurred in so referring the matter and the costs of the Senior Practitioner will be borne by the unsuccessful party;
- the unsuccessful party must notify the successful party in writing, within thirty (30) days of the determination by the Senior Practitioner, if the determination is not accepted; The procedures in a) b) c) and d) above must be completed before any legal action is undertaken by the parties.
Complaints may be lodged with the:
Tel: 011 726-8900
Fax: 011 726-5501
Share call: 0860 726 980
Physical Address: Sunnyside Office Park, 5th Floor, Building D, 32 Princess of Wales, Terrace, Parktown
Postal Address: PO Box 32334, Braamfontein, 2017
*The applicable Excess will be increased by an additional 20% if Prescription Alert is not used and complied with.
**The applicable Excess will be increased by an additional 20% if clause 20 of this policy applies.