Last week Justice Minister Jeff Radebe announced that the Legal Practice Bill has been tabled in Parliament after it was certified by the Chief State Law Adviser. He said the Bill is a milestone in the history of the profession. It opens doors of access to the profession and guarantees accessible legal services, by creating a framework for the determination of reasonable and affordable fees.
According to a recent press release:
The Law Society has welcomed the Legal Practice Bill and commits to engaging in discussions with other stakeholders The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) welcomes the publication of the long-awaited Legal Practice Bill. ‘This Bill has been in the making for more than a decade, and throughout that process, the LSSA has been cooperating with the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and other stakeholders as it has been of the view that the existing Attorneys Act of 1979 is outdated and needs to be replaced with new legislation that unites the legal profession, complies with the Constitution, the Competition Act and transformation imperatives. In addition, the Bill must do the necessary to guarantee that the profession is governed and regulated in the best way to serve the public interest, while maintaining the independence of the profession. The Bill must ensure access to justice for members of the public and equitable access to the profession and to legal work for legal practitioners,’ say LSSA Co-Chairpersons Krish Govender and Jan Stemmett.
‘The Legal Practice Bill contains a number of good provisions, but where we believe there is room for improvement, we will engage the Justice Department, the Justice Portfolio Committee and other stakeholders to deal with any aspect which may be a cause for concern. We must ensure that, when the Legal Practice Act is passed, it complies with the above criteria,’ add Mr Govender and Mr Stemmett.
In addition, LSSA will participate in the transitional process after implementation of the Act, confident that the Transitional Council envisaged in the Bill will set the necessary framework in place to ensure a better dispensation for the profession and for the public, whom the profession serves.