Austen Smith Attorneys, Conveyancers and Notaries in Pietermaritzburg

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Austen Smith offers a wide-range of expert legal advice in various fields, including High Court, Regional Court and Magistrate’s Court litigation, Collections, Conveyancing and Agency Conveyancing, as well as Commercial Law. We also have a Specialist Fiduciary Services Department and are perfectly positioned to offer you superior Estate Planning and Trust advice.

Situated in the Provincial Capital, Pietermaritzburg, and at the seat of the High Court, the Master’s Office and the provincial Deeds Office, we are proud to serve both our local community and our agents in other provinces.

Maintaining consistently high standards of work in our Bond Departments, we have served on the panels of the 4 major South African banks for decades. Our relationship with Standard Bank goes back over 100 years.

We are an authorised financial services provider, duly registered with the Financial Services Board and we have a dedicated investment administrator who ensures that your valuable investment is invested optimally and at favourable rates with the major banking institutions.

Legal Services

Fiduciary services

Fiduciary Services The Fiduciary Services department of Austen Smith handles the drafting of wills and estate planning, the administration of estates, trusts and personal affairs and generally looking after and caring for clients.  We also draft and execute Antenuptial contracts and attest other notarial documentation. We attend on the Masters office daily. The department is…

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Litigation

Litigation Constitutional Court Litigation relating to constitutional issues and rights High Court Motion Court appearances Civil litigation Commercial litigation Matrimonial and family law litigation Motor vehicle accident claims Personal injury claims Liquidations and Insolvencies Criminal law cases Magistrate’s Court Civil litigation Criminal cases in both district and regional courts Arbitrations and Mediation – in civil…

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Labour Law

Labour Law Employment contracts, including conditions of employment Negotiation of collective agreements Wage negotiations Dispute resolution Representation in CCMA and Labour Courts Nicci joined Austen Smith in 2016 as a Consultant in South African Labour Law. Nicci’s academic qualifications include BA(UNP), LLB(UNP), LLM(UKZN). With regard to her professional qualifications, Nicci is an Admitted Attorney and…

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Debt Collections

Debt Collections David Poole davidpoole@austensmith.co.za David Poole heads up the firm’s debt collections department which has over 20 years’ experience. All staff are actively involved with all of the collection matters on behalf of clients.  We adopt a hands-on approach and are also pragmatic about assessing the chances of the recovery of the debt. Our…

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Conveyancing

Conveyancing Services The firm has specialised Local and Agency Conveyancing Departments. The Services provided are: Drafting of Agreements and Contracts Transfers of conventional properties Opening of Sectional Title registers Registrations of Mortgage Bonds Sectional Title transfers Opening of Township Registers Township Developments Registration of Notarial Deeds including Servitudes and Bonds Arranging short term bridging finance…

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News & Events

LOSING YOUR LICENCE WITH AARTO DEMERITS: MORE DANGER THAN YOU THOUGHT, AND THE WHEELS ARE TURNING

2nd Apr 2019

“The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status, or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we all believe that we are above-average drivers” (humourist Dave Barry) AARTO (the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act) has been partially in force for years, but its demerit provisions have…

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NEIGHBOURS BUILDING? KNOW YOUR RIGHTS RE PLAN APPROVAL

2nd Apr 2019

“You can be a good neighbour only if you have good neighbours” (Howard Koch, “Invasion from Mars” author) Your neighbours apply to the municipality for approval of building plans. You object strongly – if allowed, you say, the new building/addition/alteration will seriously impact on your property’s appeal and value. It will be unsightly and objectionable.…

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YOUR DOG, CAT OR COW (EVEN YOUR BEES) COULD COST YOU MILLIONS

2nd Apr 2019

“Ignorance is Bliss Dangerous” (Internet meme) Our law will generally hold you liable for damages only if someone else can prove that you caused them loss/damage/injury through your “fault” (intent or negligence). That seems fair and logical – if it’s your fault, you pay. If however the loss was caused by your animal/s, you are…

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UNFAIR LABOUR PRACTICES REFERRED BY EX-EMPLOYEES

6th Mar 2019

There are two recent cases which shed some light on how to approach unfair labour practices referred by ex-employees. The principle is confirmed that an ex-employee may only refer an unfair labour practice case against a former employee is the unfairness arose during the course of the employment relationship. The first is Magoshi v Gauteng…

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YOUR SELECTION OF BUDGET 2019 TAX CALCULATORS (AND A TAX GUIDE)

28th Feb 2019

 “People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women” (Anon) How long will you work for the taxman today? Input your salary into the 2019 Tax Clock calculator and find out how many hours you will spend today working for the taxman, and at what time precisely you will finally…

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TRUSTEES AT WAR: THE REMOVAL REMEDY AND ITS LIMITS

28th Feb 2019

“Animosity and difference of opinion are not sufficient to have a trustee removed from office and/or for the majority of trustees to unilaterally force another to vacate his/her office…” (Extract from judgment below) When family infighting impacts a family trust, an early casualty is often the relationship between the appointed trustees and beneficiaries, and/or between…

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