Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated is a law firm based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are proud to work with South African residents as well as those based abroad who own or operate businesses in South Africa. As South African lawyers, we have a deep understanding of South African law and offer a wide range of services.
One of our core practices is commercial law and we offer services in almost every respect thereof, including commercial contract law, litigation, insolvency, debt collection and more. Take a look at our full range of services on this page.

Should you reside abroad and own or operate a business within South Africa, it is vital to form an ongoing business relationship with a law firm that you can trust. We’ll take the time to get to know your business, your short and long-term plans, and assist you in making decisions that lead you to the outcomes that you are working towards. We’ll help any company or business owner to always stay on the right side of the law when establishing contracts and negotiation. That means that there is less of a chance of encountering difficulty many years down the line. Proceeding in the best possible manner with South Africa lawyers that you can trust from the onset is a good way to lay a solid foundation for future growth.

We offer highly specialized services. Director and insolvency practitioner Safiyah Ebrahim Cook is a practicing member of the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA) and leads our team of experienced attorneys in insolvency cases.

Another of our core practice areas is retail, industrial and office leasing. We offer a myriad of related services, ranging from new leases, remedies on breach, repairs, and maintenance, subletting/assignment of lease, and termination. We represent industrial and office parks and shopping centers, as well as mixed-use office/retail complexes across South Africa.

Our debt collection services include negotiating commercial resolutions to debt disputes, large scale commercial recoveries, and advising clients on the process to minimize arrears. Through our membership with TransUnion Credit Bureau, we can blacklist your debtor twenty days after the letter of demand has been delivered, with everything done in accordance with the National Credit Act.

Forming a lasting working relationship with a law firm may seem strange to some, but it is vitally important to work with South Africa lawyers that you can trust. The better we understand you and your business, the more effectively we will be able to assist you.

Get in touch with us via the form on our contact page, give us a call, Skype, or send us an email. We look forward to getting in touch.

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Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated has represented several retail, industrial and office parks across South Africa, with commercial leases forming one of our core practices. Commercial lease contracts can be overwhelmingly complex and a great deal of attention is put into the construction of the contract to ensure that it maintains a fair balance for both the landlord and the tenant.

Any experienced commercial landlord will tell you that a watertight contract is of the utmost importance. It communicates expectations to the tenant and allows for them to become enforceable should any issue arise. Commercial lease contracts are far more complex than your run of the mill lease, as they need to make provision for a great number of terms that extend to areas that residential leases do not. When leasing an office space, your main goal is to secure profit without being burdened with too many hassles down the line. In order to do that a great many factors need to be addressed – What if the tenant falls behind on payments? How do you handle compensation for improvements? Who is responsible for repairs and maintenance? If the tenant does an upgrade, is the landlord responsible for covering the costs when the tenant moves out? These and many other factors may not seem immediately apparent, but will most definitely come into play at some point down the line. Office rental lawyers will work with you to formulate an office lease contract that works for your business.

But why not simply download a pre-made lease agreement from the internet and make a few minor adjustments? It’s free, after all. Since this is a commercial contract, it is strongly advised that you have a contract tailored to your business – you need to protect your investment. Office rental lawyers have experience in this field and have worked with a wide range of businesses, they’ll have a good idea as to what you can expect and how to best prepare for it in a contract.

Having office rental lawyers involved from the onset will also prove valuable if you ever require additional assistance in resolving issues with your tenant, including: Arrear rent, eviction, cancellation, remedies on breach, etc.

The final point to consider is that a well-constructed, fair office rental lease will help to secure a positive long-term business arrangement between the landlord and tenant. It lays the foundation upon which each party can continue to grow. Nothing is omitted from the contract and there are therefore no grey areas that can prove to be points of contention at a later stage. When each party knows what to expect from the other there is room to grow within the framework laid at the onset.

Contact Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated.

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How do you proceed with debt collection in a manner that complies with the National Credit Act 34 of 2005 and the Debt Collectors Act 114 of 1998, both of which promote fair, non-abrasive debt collection practices? Short answer – make use of the services of a fair debt collection attorney.

When chasing outstanding and overdue debt it’s important that your company is represented in the best possible light. Many debt collection agencies have been known to approach debtors in an abrasive manner, calling an inordinate amount of times, being rude to debtors, sometimes using strong or inappropriate language, and making threats. Despite that fact that your clients may have bills outstanding, having your company represented in this manner may be unprofessional and may paint a negative picture that could cause reputational damage in the long run. One might imagine that clients would respond to a more aggressive approach but, on the contrary, such an unprofessional approach may just result in them not taking you seriously. Debt collection agencies who do not comply with fair debt collection practices may also hinder you from getting paid as they close the way for negotiation and further discussion which may more effectively lead to a positive outcome.

In addition to the above, it is illegal to pursue debt collection by means that are in contravention of the Debt Collectors Act 114. Undue harassment by means of excessive hounding and threats will only make the legal system work against your company in the long run.

When pursuing businesses or individuals for outstanding debt it is always important to remember to maintain the utmost integrity and professionalism.

When making use of a fair debt collection attorney that adheres to the law, you can rest assured that you will have the best chance at recovering outstanding payment in the most efficient manner possible. Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated is a law firm with a great deal of experience in recovering debt while representing you, the client, in the best possible light. We do not harass clients with threats, we do not allow emotion or unfriendly feelings enter into our negotiations with the debtor, instead maintaining a calm distance while we work in our client’s best interest.

Ultimately, you want your business represented in the best possible light at all times, from front of house sales, company representatives and call centres, all the way to your debt collection team. Dropping the ball when it comes to professionalism in any of these areas reflects poorly on everything else you are doing. Today, with social media being as prevalent a means for business review as it is, is it not wise to make use of a professional legal firm to represent your business in debt collection processes?

Contact us.

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“A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” – Sam Goldwyn

We’ve got that saying on the top of our commercial contracts page for a reason. While legally binding, verbal assurances and deals sealed with a handshake can quickly deteriorate into a case of “he said, she said” in the event of disputes. When planning for the future of your business it’s best not to build on shaky foundations even though establishing a commercial contract may prove to be a complicated exercise.

Furthermore, it is imperative to formulate a contract that is specific to your business, making provision for future growth and developments so as to avoid future disputes.

But why not grab a generic contract from the internet?

Negotiation and drafting a contract are part of the process. Commercial contract lawyers will have to spend time getting to know your business and how best to establish a contract that is fair to both parties involved. Risk should be allocated equitably between each party and the ability of each party to control against the risk allocated against it requires an in-depth understanding of the client’s insurance policy. This will then determine if the party can, in fact, carry the risk allocated to it. Without this, the contract is flawed.

Not only is it important to know what is present on the contract, but also what is not. Commercial contract attorneys with many years of experience will be able to see what is missing or vague and make corrections so that the final draft of the contract fully addresses the requirements of both parties. Someone inexperienced in the drafting of contracts may very easily overlook a great number of points which were simply not present in the first place and will not be able to properly elaborate on sections that may be of great importance in their specific situation.

Drafting the right contract for your business from the onset will be one of the best moves you can make. The investment in hiring qualified commercial contract lawyers will prove to be a worthwhile oneas your business grows and you find that all of your bases have been covered.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated is a law firm based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We work with clients based locally and internationally and have extensive experience with South African commercial contract law, especially as it is one of our core practices. Should you be based abroad and have business interests in South Africa, we’ll gladly draw on our expertise to draft the right contract for you so that you can proceed with the utmost confidence.

Get in touch with us via our contact page.

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Are you based in the UK and looking for a commercial attorney South Africa (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor)?

Allow us to introduce ourselves. Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated is a law firm with a strong focus on commercial law and retail, industrial and office leasing. We also offer many other services ranging from Companies and Intellectual Properties Commission-related services (CIPC), international commercial litigation and debt collection, commercial contracts and insolvency. We serve clients in South Africa and around the globe, assisting them in their business interests across South Africa. We represent major landlords and property management companies. We also represent local and national tenants in various situations regarding dispute resolution, negotiating and vetting relating to commercial leases.

South African commercial law, particularly commercial law, is different to UK law in many respects. When assessing complex commercial lease contracts, we can be of great assistance in explaining country-specific laws and help you to better understand the agreements before signing. We can also help you in formulating commercial contracts that are fair and structured in such a manner that the best interests of each party is given due consideration. As a commercial attorney (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor) South Africa, we work alongside you in negotiation, litigation and debt collection.
When pursuing international debt collection, we understand the difficulties involved for UK companies and residents. You are dealing with a situation where your debtor is a great distance away, different laws govern the process, and your debtor can easily stop communication. We have experience in debt collection for clients based abroad and will always do so within country-specific laws, maintaining the utmost regard for your business and being sure to represent you and your company in such a manner that, whenever possible, best lends itself to conducting future business with your debtor. Even though you might not feel it worth pursuing debt after the effort and hours spent seem to avail little or no results, we encourage you to contact us here. We operate within the guidelines defined by the National Credit Act, 34 of 2005.

Forming a strong business relationship with a commercial attorney (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor) in South Africa means that you know that you have someone who both understands your business and will always offer you the most professional representation.

When in need of a commercial attorney (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor) South Africa, regarding the lease of commercial property, negotiating of contracts, or seeking debt collection services, Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated has extensive experience in working with clients based abroad. To see our full range of services, visit this page.

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Who needs a debt settlement attorney?

Do you find yourself drowning in debt without enough resources to pay it back, creditors nipping at the heel with strongly worded emails, official sounding letters, and more than a few phone calls a day? It’s not that you don’t want to pay your creditors, but rather that you simply can’t. Any number of things may have happened – you or your significant other may have fallen ill. Your car may have broken down. Your home may have needed immediate repairs. More importantly, you may be owed money and may be in a similar situation that your creditors are in. Debt can be a result of poor planning and careless spending habits just as much as it can be a result of unforeseen holdups in your cash flow due to a defaulting debtor. This puts you in the same boat as the people you in turn owe money to but can’t pay back due to an unsteady cash flow. It’s a vicious circle that can eventually lead to ruin.

This is where a debt settlement attorney comes in. A debt settlement attorney might be able to help lower your debt, consolidate it, or put you on a payment plan. This is all provided that it is unsecured debt which didn’t require collateral. This is all well and good, but the best outcome would be to have monies owed to you promptly paid so that you can in turn settle your debts without resorting to the aforementioned.

Creditors take huge risks on unsecured loans and will generally rather negotiate than write the debt off. This isn’t the best-case scenario, but when it gets to the point where a debtor faces the potential of bankruptcy, the creditor may at least agree to a reduced amount. Should you enter bankruptcy, they will have received nothing, this is the worst-case scenario and means that your creditor loses all the way. In many instances, they will rather opt to receive partial repayment than nothing. By making use of the services of a law firm to act on your behalf in collecting the debt you stand a much higher chance in getting defaulting debtors to pay, this means that your debt can then more quickly be settled without entering into negotiations. You get your outstanding money, your creditors get theirs, and business relationships are maintained.

Some debt settlement attorneys work on contingency, which means that you don’t owe anything upfront but they will take a percentage later on if you win the case. The same principles apply to debt collection, where the law firm will assess your prospects of recovery and then enter into a contingency fee agreement with you.

It may seem tempting to represent yourself in debt collection in order to cut costs, but hiring a professional law firm will greatly increase your chances of success. Communication via a law firm generally carries far greater weight. A law firm with commercial law experience knows how to negotiate, understands commercial contract law, and will be able to advise you on how best to proceed.

It should be noted that in some cases a debt settlement attorney might not be successful and bankruptcy might be the only viable option. In such cases, Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated has substantial experience in insolvency law and will be able to assist you through this trying time.

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Do you have business interests in South Africa? Are you based abroad or even locally? Struggling to get a handle on how commercial lease agreements work? Your best option is to hire commercial lease attorneys (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor) in South Africa. Not only will it save you time right off the bat, but it will also prove to one of the most worthwhile investments you could make in the long run.

We have experience working with individuals based locally and internationally and, with commercial law as one of our core practices, we have a deep understanding of commercial lease agreements.

Proceed with Confidence

A contract downloaded from the internet will do you no good. Each commercial lease agreement needs to be tailored to your business unless you want to run into unforeseen issues down the line. An office park has different requirements to a mall, a building housing both commercial and residential tenants will have different requirements to a warehouse or manufacturing plant. How do you want to develop your business in the future? Do you have plans for structural expansion? Commercial lease agreements can be incredibly complex and, if they are to be structured in a manner that suits your best interests, it is imperative to invest in commercial lease attorneys in South Africa (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor) who want to understand your business and what you need to reach your goals. You’ll be able to proceed with confidence as you know that you’ll be on the right side of the law and have everything set up for the long-term right from the start.

Dispute Resolution

Commercial lease attorneys in South Africa (in the UK this is referred to as a Business Solicitor) can also help you to better understand the technicalities of a lease agreement. Should you run into problems with tenants later on, you will be well-equipped to communicate with them in a knowledgeable manner. Should further disputes arise, you can employ our services to represent and advise you in the best possible manner. We can negotiate on your behalf and, with comprehensive knowledge of your agreement, will be able to formulate a plan to achieve a quick resolution in your favour whenever possible.

Differences in Commercial Contracts

Specifics governing contract law can vary from country to country and making use of a South African-based firm means that you are making use of commercial lease attorneys with a comprehensive understanding of South African commercial law.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. We are ready to assist you with your legal requirements, whether based in South Africa or abroad.

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Insolvency lawyers, otherwise known as insolvency practitioners, fulfill several vital roles when a business is declared insolvent, but what does that mean and what are the main functions of insolvency lawyers.

A business is declared insolvent when it cannot pay debts that are due. In another article, we’ll take a look at the different types of insolvency and the difference between insolvency and bankruptcy (these two often get confused and we’ll clear them up over here).

In some cases, insolvency lawyers might be able to save the business. This isn’t always the case though, and when it isn’t possible a certain number of steps need to be taken within a legal framework to make sure that available monies are fairly distributed among creditors, this is known as the concursus creditorum.

Once a company is liquidated, an investigation is launched to determine the reasons for insolvency. Were there any blatant offences that led to insolvency? Were any past directors or officers involved in contravening the Companies Act? Once a liquidator has examined the affairs and transactions of the company, they will then have a clearer picture as to the events that led to this eventuality.

Stock is taken of the finances and assets and assets are sold in order to recover monies that can then be distributed among creditors. Creditors also need to be placed in an order of preference which determines who gets paid first and how much.

Believe it or not, many entities declared insolvent are dealing with a great deal of outstanding debt themselves. In many cases, outstanding debt may contribute greatly to their financial disarray. Inefficient debt collection processes might also play a role. If you find yourself in this position, head over to this article where we discuss employing a law firm in order to manage your debt collection. In any event, Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated acting as insolvency lawyers, in this case, will then recover the outstanding debt in order that it may be allocated to creditors.

We provide ongoing support and advice throughout this complicated process. We are able to assist with the liquidation application made to court and also handle much of the paperwork, making sure that everything is completed to fulfill legal requirements. Distribution of assets will be clearly communicated and we assist the liquidator in conducting enquiries in terms of section 417 and 418 of the Companies Act read with the Insolvency Act.

Finally, should it be required, we may proceed with litigation against directors should they have knowingly proceeded to perform company duties in a reckless manner, particularly if they were aware and the intention was to defraud creditors.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated offers insolvency practice as a core part of our practice. We can assist with applying for an individual’s sequestration or a company’s liquidation. Here we require the reasons for applying for sequestration and or liquidation, which is then set out in a court application. Once we obtain the court order, a trustee or liquidator is then appointed and they deal with meeting with the insolvent or directors of a company, determining reasons for insolvency, holding enquiries if need be, liaising with creditors and making payment to creditors.

Director and insolvency practitioner Safiyah Ebrahim Cook was registered on the National Masters List of Insolvency Practitioners in 2015 and is a practicing member of the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA). Safiyah heads our insolvency practice and team, which is operated by qualified, experienced attorneys and assisted by accountants and is also a liquidator who takes on appointments made by the Master of the High Court.

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Bankruptcy can be one of the most difficult things any company can go through. The stress inherent to the process is exacerbated by the complex forms, processes, court appearances, liquidation of assets and so much more. It’s something no one wants to go through and when it happens it means massive changes to your life. There is no way in which to make it pleasant or easy, but hiring a bankruptcy attorney can alleviate stress and provide clarity throughout the process. There is nothing worse than feeling completely lost but with a professional ally to assist you along the way, you’ll find the process less intimidating.

People often mistake bankruptcy and insolvency to be the same thing. Read more about the difference between bankruptcy and insolvency in this article.

There is a positive side to going bankrupt – the debt that may have been weighing you down over the last few months or years no will no longer be a burden. There is hope in the chance to start fresh and make the right choices from the onset, preferably with the assistance of an experienced commercial attorney – read more about that here.

That being said, getting over the initial hurdle, having company assets liquidated, attending court and completing the vast amount of paperwork, and paying creditors all needs to be done. A bankruptcy attorney will do all of these tasks for you. They will investigate and determine what went wrong and who was responsible. They will do so without making mistakes so that the process can be handled as efficiently as possible.

A bankruptcy attorney will also approach the situation from a calm perspective. Many people impacted by the bankruptcy process can become emotional and may make errors due to their impaired judgment. Approaching bankruptcy from a calm perspective greatly reduces the potential of making mistakes.

Access to a source of sound, authoritative advice throughout the process is also an oft-overlooked but crucial benefit that comes with hiring a law firm experienced in commercial law. You’ll be advised as to which type of bankruptcy you should be filing for and will be carefully and professionally guided along the way, from the onset until the process’s completion.

At the end of the day, bankruptcy is synonymous with failure, and it’s not something anyone wants to experience. That being said, when the process is handled as efficiently as possible, adhering at all times to the correct country-specific guidelines, it can mean an end of one venture which could lead to the beginning of another.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated offers insolvency practice as a core part of our practice. We can assist with applying for an individual’s sequestration or a company’s liquidation. Here we require the reasons for applying for sequestration and or liquidation, which is then set out in a court application. Once we obtain the court order, a trustee or liquidator is then appointed and they deal with meeting with the insolvent or directors of a company, determining reasons for insolvency, holding enquiries if need be, liaising with creditors and making payment to creditors.

Get in touch with us via our contact page or give us a call. We look forward to learning about your business and seeing how we can best help you.

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People often mistake bankruptcy and insolvency to be the same thing. The terms invoke similar visions of financial hardship and this frequently leads to the general assumption that the terms are interchangeable when they are, in fact, quite different, although the one is very much a product of the other. We’ll take a closer look at the differences between bankruptcy and insolvency and how they are linked.We’ll also take a look at the role of an insolvency practitioner in the insolvency process.

So, right off the bat, what’s the big difference? You can be insolvent without being bankrupt. Being insolvent simply means that you are unable to pay debts when they are due – this applies to both individuals and legal entities like companies and corporations.

Insolvency can be remedied, it’s not the last straw for your business and can quite easily just be a temporary state. If money is owed and there simply isn’t enough money to make the payment, a loan can be made in order to settle the outstanding payment – insolvency solved. The problem here is that there is obviously something wrong with the individual or legal entities’ cash flow situation. Unless attention is given to making a change, the problem will simply re-emerge at a later date. It could even be that you have debtors who owe outstanding money to you, in which case we recommend checking this article out over here.

It’s important to know that there are two types of insolvency:

Cash Flow Insolvency

If a person or company does not have the requisite form of payment in order to settle the debt but are able to liquidate (sell) assets in order to settle debt. It goes a little deeper in that: Current and future cash flows need to be determined and if there is simply not enough cash flow to resolve outstanding debt in the long term, things might lead to bankruptcy. If, on the other hand, the financial situation is temporary, the insolvency will be temporary.

Balance Sheet Insolvency

A balance sheet insolvency test is required to determine whether the company will manage to pull through or will have to file for bankruptcy. If total assets are less than liabilities, the business is balance sheet insolvent. If a company can maintain cash flow solvency, by having enough cash to meet its obligations, it is balance sheet insolvent, it can continue to operate without going into bankruptcy.

An insolvency practitioner will “step into the shoes” of the insolvent and work to determine causes for insolvency and, if necessary, process liquidation of assets and pay creditors what they are due in a specific order.

Van Zyl Ebrahim Cook Attorneys Incorporated offers insolvency practice as a core part of our practice. We can assist with applying for an individual’s sequestration or a company’s liquidation. Here we require the reasons for applying for sequestration and or liquidation, which is then set out in a court application. Once we obtain the court order, a trustee or liquidator is then appointed and they deal with meeting with the insolvent or directors of a company, determining reasons for insolvency, holding enquiries if need be, liaising with creditors and making payment to creditors.

Director and insolvency practitioner Safiyah Ebrahim Cook was registered on the National Masters List of Insolvency Practitioners in 2015 and is a practicing member of the South African Restructuring and Insolvency Practitioners Association (SARIPA). Safiyah heads our insolvency practice and team, which is operated by qualified, experienced attorneys and assisted by accountants.

READ MORE ABOUT INSOLVENCY LAWYERS