The National Forum on the Legal Profession (NF) met on 30 June 2017 to finalise a number of matters in preparation for its recommendations to Justice Minister Michael Masutha on 1 August 2017. This was the NF’s ninth plenary meeting since it was established in March 2015.
In general the NF noted that, due to the looming deadline to make recommendations to the Minister, time was running out to reach consensus on matters where there is no agreement among stakeholders. On such matters, the different views will be submitted to the Minister for him to make a final decision. One such matter relates to the format and content of practical vocational training (PVT) for candidate legal practitioners. As no agreement has been reached between the attorneys’ profession and some groups in the advocates’ profession, different options will be submitted to the Minister.
The NF has reached agreement on the following issues, which it was enjoined to make recommendations on in terms of s 97(1) read with s 109 of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA):
- An election procedure to constitute the LPC.
- Provincial councils and their areas of jurisdiction.
- The composition, powers and functions of the provincial councils.
- The manner in which the provincial councils must be elected.
- The right of appearance of candidate legal practitioners.
- The NF has conducted a cost analysis of the operation of the LPC and the provincial councils.
Some issues, such as practical vocational training for candidate legal practitioners, have not been agreed on.