In the past few months the legal profession and the way it functions has been in the spotlight and under scrutiny with extensive coverage on mainstream media and social media platforms. A number of recent cases show that members of the public are not afraid to take attorneys to task and ensure that provincial law societies fulfil their mandate of regulating the profession.
The second congress of the Association of Asian Constitutional Courts and Equivalent Institutions took place in Istanbul, Turkey on 29 April.
Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, speaking in his capacity as the vice president of the Conference of Constitutional Jurisdictions of Africa (CCJA) and as Head of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, spoke on 'The Role of Constitutional and Supreme Courts in the Protection of Constitutional Order'.
Justice Minister, Jeff Radebe, said that the justice system would aggressively respond to perpetrators who violently attack or discriminate against the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. He added that the increasing spate of violence against LGBTI persons necessitated government to take an active role in coming up with effective measures to stop these heinous crimes. The Minister was speaking at the launch of the LGBTI programme on 29 April at Constitution Hill.
Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) Co-chairpersons Max Boqwana and Ettienne Barnard and CEO Nic Swart met with Public Protector Advocate Thuli Madonsela in May to reiterate the support of the LSSA and the attorneys' profession for the work of the Office of the Public Protector.
The deadline for attorneys wishing to participate in this year's National Wills Week is 20 June 2014. Online registration can be done on the LSSA website at www.LSSA.org.za. Alternatively, practitioners can contact their provincial law society for a registration form.
The International Bar Association (IBA) has awarded its 2014 Outstanding Woman Lawyer Award to Zambian lawyer Dr Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula. The award is given in recognition of professional excellence, influencing other women to pursue careers in law and advancing opportunities for women within the legal profession.
Attorneys must be aware of the risks, vulnerabilities and control considerations around Eletronic Funds Transfers. A practitioner that does not anticipate fraud happening through EFT payments may find himself or herself out of business. Payments through EFTs are identified as high-risk areas within attorneys' practices as a result of limited and/or cumbersome controls.
There are various trends affecting the legal industry today. An awareness of the changing trends and forces is of critical importance because due to the increased competition levels, law firms will have to be more strategically minded, and be more aware of their competitive advantage and differentiation, so that they may clearly convey the benefits they offer to clients and potential clients. Should a firm fail to do this, it will be outperformed by the competition, and start a backward slide that may lead to eventual closure.
The issue of traditional knowledge and how it should be protected is important and currently a concern throughout the world. The protection of traditional knowledge through the intellectual property regime carries out the essential function of preventing third parties from exploiting this knowledge for profit. However, this regime is not only unavailable to most traditional Picture source: Gallo Images/Thinkstock knowledge holders, but it also does not necessarily guarantee the preservation of the knowledge.
Animal abuse has become increasingly recognised as a serious crime, as well as an indicator of human-directed violence (A Campbell 'The Admissibility of Evidence of Animal Abuse in Criminal Trials for Child and Domestic Abuse' (2002) 43(2) Boston College Law Review 463).
The appointment of curators is a daily occurrence in our courts and in particular in the North and South Gauteng High Courts where the proliferation of personal injury matters has made such appointments common place. On the other hand, in matrimonial matters it is not utilised enough to safeguard the interests of minor children, where such interests form the very dispute between parents (by inference we refer to any lawful guardian as well) and require that an independent person takes cognisance of the child's wishes, which interests, however, may not always be sufficiently protected by an overworked family advocate.
Kubyana v Standard Bank of South Africa Ltd (CC) (unreported case no CCT65/13, 20-2-2014) Mhlantla AJ (Moseneke ACJ, Skweyiya ADCJ, Cameron J, Dambuza AJ, Froneman J, Jafta J, Madlanga J and Van der Westhuizen J concurring)