Paralegal Services

What constitutes a vexatious or malicious complaint or claim?

A cause of action that is vexatious will be characterised by proceedings that are instituted without sufficient grounds for suing, and are normally brought to cause annoyance or embarrassment to the Defendant. A cause of action that is malicious will be found in an action brought with the intention to harm people or their reputation, or cause them embarrassment and distress.

Why does LegalWise not represent me in hearings and CCMA cases?

Legal representation is not always allowed in internal company disciplinary proceedings. Where legal representation is permitted at an internal company inquiry, we will pay to have a Network Lawyer represent you, if covered. In addition, legal representation is not allowed by law at the conciliation phase at the CCMA. It is only in arbitration proceedings and at the Labour Court where you may be represented by a Lawyer. We will assess the merits of your case for cover.

What are Paralegal Services?

This refers to the in-house legal assistance offered to you in an attempt to prevent the need for litigation. Through this service many disputes, potential disputes and court cases are avoided. It is important to note that in some cases, legal action is inevitable.

Why does LegalWise not draft any documents?

LegalWise assists with the drafting of letters of demand addressed to third parties in matters pertaining to the Small Claims Court and other kinds of disputes, provided that no exclusion applies (as in the case of deceased estates and tax matters).

Can a legal letter request for people to evict my property?

A Legal Counsellor can assist by sending a letter of demand (notice to vacate) to an unlawful occupier of immovable property. If the occupier/s do not move out by the date stipulated in the letter, a Member can be referred to a Lawyer to assist with an eviction application, provided the Relevant Events arose after the waiting period, whilst the Membership was fully paid up. If it relates to the Member's permanent place of residence, the event must have taken place in the RSA.

Are the LegalWise letters drafted by Legal Counsellors or lawyers, and what authority do they have?

Legal Counsellors will draft letters for Paralegal Services rendered on a Member's behalf. Our Legal Counsellors have the requisite knowledge to assist with Paralegal Services, they can also assist with letters of demand (LOD), which carries the same authority as a LOD written by a Lawyer. Our Legal Counsellors are legally trained individuals whose minimum qualifications vary from a Paralegal Diploma to a 4 year law degree (LL.B.). We also employ qualified Legal Practitioners who are enrolled as non-practising Attorneys or Advocates.

Why does LegalWise not trace people who owe us money if we do not have their details?

At minimum, we would need the person's name, surname and available contact details. Tracing a debtor is an Insurance benefit only. If the claim is covered, we allow the Attorney to appoint up to 3 tracers on a "no trace, no fee" basis, which means that we will only pay the tracer if there is a successful trace. It should be noted that the legal debt recovery process is premised on the debtor being located and being of sufficient means to repay the debt.

Does LegalWise store my Will?

This benefit is only applicable to Platinum Members. LegalWise will pay an appointed Lawyer to draft a simple Will. A copy of the Will is kept by the appointed Lawyer, not by LegalWise.


Claims Procedure

Should I pay an extra fee when I am referred to an attorney?

No. You are not liable for any extra fees except when the appointed Lawyer does not agree to work in terms of the LegalWise Schedule of Tariffs, where we do not provide Confirmation of Cover, or where maximum cover available has been exhausted.

Exactly what does Claim Value Multiplier mean?

The Claim Value Multiplier is utilised to determine the maximum amount of legal expenses we are willing to pay per matter, which is twice the value of the existing claim by you, limited by the maximum benefit of your Membership. It exists to encourage acceptance of reasonable offers of settlement. It avoids disproportionate legal expenses when there is a risk of either a very small or no reward.

What is the process to follow when Members are unhappy about their claim being repudiated?

The Member will have 90 days from the date of the Repudiation to advise us in writing that they object and do not agree with the repudiation. If the repudiation is based on non-payment of premiums, then our decision will be final. If the repudiation is based on any other reason, then LegalWise will send the objection to an Independent External Referee to review the repudiation and make a recommendation. Should the Member still not agree with our repudiation then the Member has 365 days to institute action against LegalWise at their own cost. The Member is also entitled to lodge a complaint with the Short-Term Insurance Ombudsman.

There is R100 000.00 cover. When am I getting my money?

The amount provided in the Confirmation of Cover is the maximum amount of Legal Expenses payable. Legal expenses insurance covers the legal costs that would be incurred in the pursuit or defence of a legal dispute by a Member or against a Member. This means that when a legal dispute arises or when there is an infringement of a Member's rights, then we pay a lawyer's costs (either an Attorney and/or an Advocate) to assist the Member in protecting and enforcing their rights. The legal expenses incurred are paid strictly in terms of the LegalWise tariffs only.

Why are the attorneys paid but I have not received any money yet for my claim?

Attorneys provide a service from the day the instructions are received. They are permitted to provide interim invoices to settle the fees in respect of the services they have already rendered. It is only when the court or tribunal has granted the Applicant/Plaintiff's relief that the money awarded by the court or tribunal be recovered from the other party. This process may be protracted given to the nature of the court procedures and existing court backlogs. As a result, this may potentially mean that an Attorney could be paid for services prior to the client receiving the settlement of his/her claim.


Why do you not cover defamation of character?

Our Gold, GoldPLUS, Platinum and Extended Family Protection Benefit Membership options only cover Defamation claims against the Member. Our Teacher, Healthcare Professional and Enforcement Officer Benefit will cover defamation claims by or against the main Member in both his/her personal and private capacity, as well as in the course and scope of his/her employment.

Section 6(29)(b) is a common exclusion for traffic fines where there is an option to pay a fine without a conviction being recorded against my name, but will still be regarded as an exclusion where I dispute liability.

Yes. The exclusion is specific to any criminal matter where a fine is payable which will not result in a criminal record. In the instance of a traffic fine where there is no option to pay a fine (i.e no admission of guilt payable), it will not be excluded, provided that no exclusions are applicable.

Why do we use, "Don’t talk to me, talk to my lawyer" as a slogan if I will be sent to another lawyer who is not a LegalWise employee and why can’t your appointed Legal Counsellors appear in court on my behalf?

Your Membership consists of two parts, Paralegal Services and Insurance Cover. The current set-up of the legal profession in South Africa does not permit lawyers other than those in private practice to appear in court. We, therefore, do not represent our Members in court, but pay a practising lawyer (Attorney and/or Advocate) legal expenses when required. All non-litigious matters are handled by our Paralegal Services Department where some of our staff are non-practising, but duly admitted and enrolled attorneys or advocates.


Does LegalWise deal with maintenance matters?

Child Maintenance benefits are only available on our Platinum Membership option for the Main Member. We will pay the appointed Lawyer's fees for consultations to draft the relevant court documents, and for appearances in the Maintenance Court as per the LegalWise Schedule of Tariffs. We will pay for only 1 (one) maintenance matter over a continuous 1 (one) year period of paid-up Platinum Membership.

How can Paralegal services help me with my debt issues?

LegalWise provides Paralegal services relating to debt issues in our Branches, over the phone, via our new video consultation service, e-mail or WhatsApp. This assistance includes liasing with third parties or creditors to obtain the amount outstanding or details of how the amounts outstanding have been calculated, drafting letters or emails indicating the grounds on which the debt is disputed, alternatively negotiating payment arrangements with creditors where a debt is not in dispute. We also assist in obtaining consents to judgment where a debt is fully paid up provided the creditor consents. We offer advice relating to debt counselling and over-indebtedness.

What is an inception date?

The inception date is the date when we receive the first premium from the Member. It is also the start of the 3-month Waiting Period.

If there is no Life Partner or spouse nominated on the Application Form, then the onus is on the main Member to prove the union. How does a Member prove this union?

Proof establishing a Spouse is confirmed by submitting a certified copy of a marriage certificate, whilst an affidavit signed by both parties will be required in the case of a Life Partner. In addition to an affidavit, we may require independent proof of the life partnership, such as proof of joint bank accounts, joint debts and expenses. In both instances, the main Member and the Spouse or Life Partner must have been married or living together for the minimum duration specified in the Schedule of Insurance, which is 2 years. Note that the 2-year criterion must be met when both the Relevant Event occurred and when the Benefit is claimed.

Why is the minimum period 90 days to be living with someone as a life partner, in order to claim for benefits?

To determine the qualifying criteria to be a Life Partner, the Membership Agreement refers to the Schedule of Insurance, which requires that you must have been living with the main Member if you were married by civil rights, customary law, or living together as life partners. This period is specified to be 2 years to ensure that multiple partners do not enjoy the benefit while not in a lasting relationship with the main Member.

Are Stokvel disputes covered?

A Stokvel has no legal personality separate from its Members, hence, Stokvel disputes are not covered as we will not cover a claim to sue yourself.

Why does LegalWise not provide a payment respite to Members who have reported that they are going on pension and fail to receive their pension/provident funds on time, which results in their Membership lapsing?

The LegalWise Membership Agreement is a short term insurance product and, as such, is a monthly agreement between the two parties for which a monthly premium is payable. In terms of the Schedule of Insurance, LegalWise will be lenient in terms of arrears, and can collect up to 2 unpaid premiums before the Membership will lapse, giving you latitude for 2 months.

The inclusion of a dispute between You and other heirs about the terms of a Will or Trust made in South Africa of which you are a beneficiary is pertaining to a deceased estate. Why is this specifically covered and no other estate matters in general?

The winding up of a deceased estate is an administrative function, and depending on the value and size of an estate, it may be complex and very expensive. As we choose to keep our premiums low, we specifically exclude this area of the law. However, we recognise that as a beneficiary to an estate you may have a personal right that requires protecting. As a result of this, we restrict the matters covered to the dispute between you and other heirs of a deceased estate.

Does my policy cover my child, who is above the age of 18 but has been declared mentally ill and incapable of handling his/her own affairs?

Children between the ages of 18 and 21, who are financially dependent on the Member and are full time students, are covered by the Membership. If the child who is mentally ill is not a full time student and is above 18, such a child will not be covered by the policy. In such instances, we recommend either a stand-alone Membership for the child or adding the child as an insured individual on the Extended Family Protection Benefit on the main Member's Membership.


I do not have my Schedule of Insurance. Where can I find it?

You can download the LegalWise App from the App Store or Google Play Store. Register and access the app from either one of the app stores, or visit a Branch where you can be provided with access. You may contact LegalWise telephonically or via e-mail, WhatsApp, or online and request that a copy of the Schedule of Insurance be sent to you by post.