Unethical lawyers and the dangers of working with them

Our client was awarded R 120 000.00 by the CCMA, as compensation for an unfair dismissal dispute. The issue that the commissioner had to deal with was whether the dismissal of the applicant was substantively and/or procedurally unfair. The commissioner found that the employer had not given enough evidence to support its case. It was found that the applicant was indeed dismissed for an unknown reason and therefore that the dismissal was substantively and procedurally unfair.

The employer then, unfairly in our view and without merit, applied to the Labour Court in order to review the award.

Our client, the applicant, approached us to enforce the award, notwithstanding the fact that the employer had begun its review process.

Our firm proceeded to issue a writ of execution and instructed the Sheriff to attach and remove goods to the value of R 120 000. As the Sheriff was writing out the inventory of goods attached, a security bond was handed to him.
According to Section 145(7) of the Labour Relations Act, 1995 as amended:
“The institution of review proceedings does not suspend the operation of an arbitration award, unless the applicant furnishes security to the satisfaction of the Court in accordance with subsection (8)”.
As the security bond claimed that an amount of R 120 000.00 was held in trust by the employer’s attorneys we therefore could not proceed to remove the goods.

After receiving the security bond from the sheriff and upon further inspection of the security bond we noticed that no contact details were provided by the attorney at the end of the security bond. This was highly unusual.

After calling every number that the internet had for these attorneys we started fearing the worst. We therefore had no other choice but to contact the Law Society, and we were promptly informed that this attorney has been struck off the roll about two years ago! We are awaiting proof of this from the Law Society in order to the matter further.
If this is true we may be permitted by the sheriff to remove and sell the employer’s goods and property, notwithstanding the review.

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