1What is the duration of my subscription to Litigator?
Your subscription to Litigator is a twelve month subscription.
2How does Counsel participate in the Litigator system?
Counsel that have registered on Litigator can be linked to a case that they are briefed on by the instructing attorney. Once linked to a case, the advocate and attorney can correspond via the Litigator messaging system. Counsel is also able to view all documents that have been exchanged by litigants. Briefing counsel on a pending matter is as simple as linking counsel to the case.
3What is the legal status of the certificate of service?
The Litigator terms and conditions incorporate an agreement by the participants, on behalf of each registered client on the system, that they agree to service electronically on the Litigator platform. The participants agree that service is effected at the time when the serving party selects the “serve” button on the Litigator platform. Service via the Litigator platform on non-Litigator members, is effected in terms of the court rules governing service via electronic mail. Rule 4A(1)(c) of the Uniform Rules of Court and Rule 5 (3) )b) and (c) of the Magistrates Rules of Court.
4Does Litigator work for Arbitrations?
The Litigator system is ideal for arbitrations! Simply link the arbitrator as a registered user and he or she will have full access to the shared case registry.
5Does Litigator have an impact on litigation that involves correspondent attorneys?
The Litigator system aims to reduce costs and improve efficiency, particularly in matters where correspondent attorneys are involved. Once a correspondent attorney is linked to a particular case, he will have full access to the pleadings and notices and, instead of making copies and serving the documents, he or she will simply access the registry to file documents and to prepare the court file. The correspondent attorney also enjoys the benefit of the Litigator online correspondence module.
6How does the index and paginate feature work?
The Litigator patented index and paginate feature is a unique application. It allows users to create court bundles by selecting documents from the document registry into a bundle preparation box. Once there the user can select, various filtering options that will determine:
- The name and type of bundle
- The documents to be included in the bundle;
- The order in which the documents appear;
- The size of the bundle;
- The start page number
The bundles are created instantly together with an automated index that pulls through all the details of the case, for which the bundle was created. Once created, a user can share the bundle with other participants on the litigator system.
7How does Litigator attend to the filing of documents at court?
Once a document is signed with the attorneys Advanced Electronic Signature, the user may select to have the document filed at court. Selecting the Filing option will instruct our filing department to:
- Retrieve the specific document from the Litigator platform
- Print out a copy of the document
- Acknowledge the authenticity of the document
- File the document at the relevant court
- Upload the proof of filing as stamped by the relevant court
8How do I obtain an Advanced Electronic Signature?
By contacting the Litigator office.
9How much does an Advanced Electronic Signature cost?
The AES, Co-sign Application and API functionality is all included in the Litigator subscription fee.
10How do I use an Advanced Electronic Signature on Litigator?
The platform will give the user an option to sign a document on the platform. Once selected the user must simply enter their AES username and password. The document will now contain the users AES.
11What is the legal standing of an Advanced Electronic Signature and the implication on original documents?
Section 13 of ECT Act – Where the signature of a person is required by law and such law does not specify the type of signature, that requirement in relation to a data message is met only if an advanced electronic signature is used.
Section 14 of ECT Act – Provides that where an original is required, that requirement is met if the integrity of the electronic document has been maintained. Signing using an advanced electronic signature facilitates for the integrity of the data message remaining intact.
Section 15 of ECT Act – In any legal proceedings,the rules of evidence must not be applied so as to deny the admissibility of a data message
In terms of S15 (4) of the ECT Act – A data message made by a person in the ordinary course of business, or a copy or printout of or an extract from such data message certified to be correct by an officer in the service of such person, is on its mere production in any civil, criminal, administrative or disciplinary proceedings under any law, the rules of a self regulatory organisation or any other law or the common law, admissible in evidence against any person and rebuttable proof of the facts contained in such record, copy, printout or extract. See also Firstrand Bank Limited v Venter  JOL 29436 (SCA)
Magistrates Court Rules, Definitions – “Signature” includes and Advanced Electronic Signature as described and defined in Chapters I, II and III of the ECT Act and also applies to “sign”, “signing” and “signed”.
12 Do all parties need to agree to electronic service and filing?
Where all parties are utilising Litigator in a matter, there will already be consensus as per the agreed Litigator Terms and Conditions.
13What if my opponent is not a Litigator subscriber?
Where only one party is utilising Litigator and the other chooses not to, the platform will by default serve to their elected email address. Thus one would refer to the specific requirements laid down by the rules with regard to consent between the parties accepting service by email.
14What if my opponent refuses to accept service by any electronic form?
In the event that a party refuses consent, then both sets of rules make provision for the requesting party to apply to court for consent to be ordered.
15Is there any implication on the appointing of Correspondent Attorneys and the associated costs?
The practical effect of the rules relating to electronic service and including Litigator’s Court Filing and Issuing service, is that correspondent attorneys, to a large degree, will become superfluous. It is recommended that a correspondent attorney be appointed and added as a “Team Member” on the Litigator platform, as they would be required to attend court for a few specific instances e.g. arranging the court file. However their normal participation and related costs would be drastically reduced. One of the major benefits of Litigator is the reduction in Correspondent Attorney charges. We have been surprised to hear of instances where the correspondent charges exceed the charges of the instructing attorney.
16 Is Litigator able to file at all SA courts?
For the jurisdictions where Litigator does not offer filing, the subscriber would have to make use of a correspondent attorney to attend to filing. The saving in correspondent fees in these instances would be solely on their charges for serving documents. Litigator will be finalising an agreement shortly which will allow us to offer filing throughout Gauteng and then nationally.