(is there such a word?)
I have been active as a lawyer for close to 40 years and in that regard I record the following:
(i) I practised, many years ago, as an attorney in Durban under the name and style of C.H. van Wyk and Co;
(ii) I am regularly retained as ad hoc lawyer; and
(iii) I am an in-house legal adviser for a corporation in Vereeniging (which position I have been holding for close to two decades);
I am not an attorney and I am therefore not restricted by drivel such as the following stipulation of the International Code of Ethics that obviously, and ever so conveniently, ensure a sheltered existence for shyster attorneys:
“Lawyers shall treat their professional colleagues with the utmost courtesy and fairness.”
I ask you, why should I, if I happen to be an attorney, be compelled to treat a convicted criminal such as Attorney Andries Geyser (an erstwhile president of the KwaZulu Natal Law Society and the Law Society of South Africa) with “utmost courtesy and fairness”, just because the KwaZulu Natal Law Society approves of his criminal antics and does not have the balls to strike him off the roll. I am talking about the Andries Geyser who sold his lay co-criminals at Tigon, who committed their crimes under his leadership, down the river by cutting a deal with the prosecution and escaping being sent to jail.
Going to my website at www.coen-vanwyk.blogspot.com and clicking, on the link, “THE CRIMINAL CONVICTION OF ATTORNEY ANDRIES GEYSER”, will lead to some juicy revelations about the man and what happened to me when I refused his partnership offer.
Incidentally, in order to dispel any suspicion or speculation about the reason why I am not in law practice, I mention that the only court that ever adjudicated on whether I am a fit and proper person to practice as an attorney, is the court that admitted me as such, being the Natal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court of South Africa (as it was known at the time).
The truth of the matter is that my activities as a journalist and activist simply do not gel with the notion of being a lawyer in law practice and being subjected to all the absurd restrictions aimed at ensuring a cloistered existence for attorneys engaging in shyster activities.
The only “disadvantage” that flows from the fact that I am not an attorney is that I do not have the right of audience on behalf of a client in a court of law. That means that a court would not hear me if I act on behalf of another person because only practicing attorneys and advocates are allowed to be heard when they represent clients in court.
But the benefits that flow from the fact that I am not an attorney are far outweighed by the vast number of important benefits that flow from that fact that as a lawyer, who is not an attorney or advocate, I am not bound by idiotic rules such as the rule that I shall treat attorneys and advocates “with the utmost courtesy and fairness” even after they had become convicted criminals, like Attorney Andries Geyser mentioned on my website. As an attorney I would not be at liberty to expose the corruption in the attorneys profession inter alia evidenced by the following webpages on my website at www.coenvanwyk.blogspot.com:
(i) THE LAW SOCIETY (NORTH) TOLERATES CRIMINAL CONDUCT’.
(ii) THE LAW SOCIETY (NORTH) TOLERATES MORE CRIMINAL CONDUCT OF ATTORNEYS.
(iii) ATTORNEYS ROSS AND JACOBS AND ABSA’S PERJURY.
(iv) THE CRIMINAL CONVICTION OF ATTORNEY ANDRIES GEYSER.
(v) THE ATTORNEY-CHECK PROJECT.
(vi) NATAL LAW SOCIETY – THOBA DLWATI SHENANIGANS.
But another Code of the Code of Ethics in effect states that “It shall be considered improper for attorneys to communicate about a particular case directly with any person whom they know to be represented in that case by another attorney without the latter’s consent.”
Now since I am not restricted by that rule it is my normal strategy to make contact with the client of an attorney and inform him of realities and risks regarding his case, of which his attorney had, more often than not, failed to apprise him, or have deliberately and fraudulently concealed from him. More often than not I also have particulars of the incompetence and negligence of the hapless victim’s attorney that I share with the victim. Such ”divide and conquer” tactics are often devastatingly effective.
But there is also a code in terms of which Attorney’s “fees should, in the absence or non-applicability of official scales, be fixed on a consideration of the amount involved in the controversy and the interest of it to the client, the time and labour involved and all other personal and factual circumstances of the case.”
Now an attorney can actually be struck off the roll if he charges a client a fee that, in the opinion of his law society is too low. In that regard there is a case reported in the South African Law reports where an attorney by the name of Ford got into big trouble with the law society some years ago when the law society found out that he had charged a client a very low fee for services that he had rendered to her.