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

Is Describing Someone In Racial Terms A Manifestation Of Racism And Dismissible Misconduct?

9th July 2018

In the case of Rustenburg Platinum Mine v SAEWA obo Bester and others [2018] ZACC 13, the court found that whether describing a person by race was to be regarded as derogatory was something that was to be objectively established accordingly to the likely perception of a reasonable person. What follows is a summary of…

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SUING AN INSOLVENT DEBTOR – CAN YOU RECOVER FROM HIS TRUST?

3rd July 2018

Your debtor owes you a fortune, but when his estate is sequestrated there is nothing in his own name. However you find out that he is trustee of a wealthy family trust with lots of assets that you think are really his – can you recover from his trust? The answer is yes, you can,…

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DEPRESSED AND DISMISSED – A HARD LESSON FOR A HARD EMPLOYER

3rd July 2018

A recent Labour Court decision shows how dangerous it is as an employer, when attempting to dismiss an employee, not to draw a clear distinction between misconduct and incapacity. Disciplined for depression An employee, whose track record had originally been an excellent one, was charged at a disciplinary enquiry with four charges of misconduct –…

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CHANGING YOUR SURNAME – YOUR CHOICES ON MARRIAGE, DIVORCE AND WIDOWHOOD

3rd July 2018

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose By any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare) You cannot lawfully use any surname in South Africa other than the one shown in the National Population Register (NPR), and trying to do so will land you in a lot of hassle and probably in…

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HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A PROPERTY SURETYSHIP

3rd July 2018

“Suretyship is the precursor of ruin” (Thales of Miletus, one of the Seven Sages of Ancient Greece)   As the philosopher and mathematician Thales pointed out two and a half millennia ago, signing surety for another’s debts carries huge risk. Yet every day directors of property holding companies happily sign personal suretyships for their company’s…

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Labour Outlines Plan To Enforce Minimum Wage Compliance

5th June 2018

The National Assembly has passed the National Minimum Wage Bill which aims to better the lives of those South African workers in low-income brackets. The proposed minimum wage was set at R20 per hour, which equates to R3,500 per month based on a 40-hour week, and R3,900 for a 45-hour week.   Many unions have…

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