The National Forum on the Legal Profession (NF) held itsthird meeting for the year in Centurion on 19 September. In terms of s 105(1) of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014, the NF must hold at least four meetings a year. The September meeting was its third meeting including the launch of the NF in March this year. The NF will hold its fourth meeting on 23 January 2016. Kgomotso Moroka SC and Max Boqwana - the NF chairperson and deputy chairperson respectively - drafted a first report on the NF's activities and submitted the report to Justice Minister, Michael Masutha, as required by the Act. They then met with the Minister on 21 September to report to the Minister on developments and on the work undertaken by the NF to pave the way for 'the effective and efficient implementation of the Act' by the Legal Practice Council (LPC) once it comes into effect.
The flagrant abuses prevalent in the collection of debts have been widely reported in the media with recent cases highlighting attorneys' involvement in such matters. These issues have plagued the debt collecting industry. Government believes the existing legislative framework is inadequate in ensuring that debts are recovered in a fair and efficient manner where there is proper control and oversight. It also believes there is a disparity in the tariffs charged by debt collectors and attorneys conducting debt collection.
The Black Lawyers Association (BLA) held an inaugural memorial lecture and gala dinner in honour of Godfrey Mokgonane Pitje. The memorial lecture, attended by 35 judges, was held at Constitution Hill on 9 October. In a press statement issued by the president of the BLA, Busani Mabunda, before the memorial lecture, the BLA stated that it received blessings from the Pitje family to use the name of Mr Pitje for various key programmes. One such key identified programme is the Godfrey Pitje Annual Memorial Lecture. The memorial lecture is part of honouring the late Mr Pitje, as he dedicated part of his life to political liberation fighting against the apartheid system.
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) held a colloquium on the African Court on Human and People's Rights (AC) on 8 October. The colloquium was held because the LSSA recognised the need to raise public awareness about the existence, functions and accessibility of the AC. The LSSA further recognises the importance of depositing the art 34(6) declaration, especially since South Africa is yet to make such a declaration and its citizens, therefore, cannot approach the AC at this stage.
On 30 September the office of the State Attorney held a service delivery symposium in Johannesburg. The symposium, which was organised under the theme 'Beyond Challenges : Towards a Better Litigation Service', was an opportunity for government to interact with stakeholders and identify mechanisms to reduce litigation against the state. In addition, the purpose of the symposium was to improve service delivery, and improve the work of state attorneys.
The School for Legal Practice, which forms part of the Legal Education and Development (LEAD) arm of the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA), celebrated its 25 year anniversary with a dinner held in Johannesburg in September. The event was attended by judges, stakeholders, as well as instructors and former students of the school.
The Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) was invited to take part in the Tax Indaba 2015. The indaba, has been a result of the collaboration between a number of the Recognised Controlling Bodies (RCBs), as defined in the Tax Administration Act 28 of 2011 (TAA). The indaba was held over five days and reportedly attended by over 600 delegates and covered a wide range of tax-related topics.
The Centre for Child Law held its sixth annual Child Law Moot Court competition on 18 and 19 September. The final round was held at the Gauteng Division, Pretoria. The preliminary and semi-final rounds took place at University of Pretoria. The judges were Judge Jody Kollapen, Chris McConnachie an advocate in Johannesburg and Melanie Murcott an attorney and lecturer at the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria.
ProBono.Org recently held its second annual Pro Bono awards ceremony on 17 September at Constitutional Hill in Johannesburg. The event celebrates the valuable role that legal practitioners play in providing pro bono legal services and access to justice for disadvantaged people in South Africa.
On 1 October the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) issued a press release noting its serious concern with media reports relating to the Road Accident Fund (RAF) 'suing itself' to halt prescription in cases where road accident victims had lodged claims direct with the RAF. The LSSA was of the view that the RAF had placed the victims in a position where their claim could prescribe in the hands of the Fund.
The new 2016 Attorneys Fidelity Fund Certificate Application Form was gazetted on 30 September in GN R898 GG39239/30-9-2015. To assist practitioners, the new application form has been automated and applications will be accepted only through the online process.
The purpose of this article is to reinforce the need for mentoring of candidate attorneys. Attorneys, like any other profession, go through a set of assessments and training in order to be admitted as attorneys and to practice for their own account. One of the training interventions that they go through is serving articles of clerkship, where they obtain practical exposure to practice of law. This exposure is obtained under the guidance or supervision of a principal attorney at the law firm where the articles are served. An alternative though, is available where the training takes place at the law clinics under the supervision of clinicians who are lawyers within those law clinics.
Respect for and protection of each individual's inherent human dignity as envisaged by 10 of the Constitution is a foundational principle in our law. It has, therefore, come as no surprise that Fabricius J recently found in Stransham-Ford v Minister of Justice and Correctional Services and Others 2015 (4) SA 50 (GP) that the common law sanction against assisted suicide, infringes the right to human dignity of patients who find themselves in a state of constant, unbearable pain as a result of a terminal illness. This brave and ground-breaking judgment may be the first step in paving the way for the legalisation of assisted suicide in our law.
The Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA), which came into partial operation in February is the product of society changes and input over time. It is the formal beginning of the end for fragmented legislation under which attorneys and advocates currently practice. One such Act dates as far back as 1926. Although it might overlap with recent repealing amendments, s 119 LPA read with its schedule, repeals the whole of the Natal Conveyancers Act 24 of 1926, the Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers Admission Act 23 of 1934, the Attorneys' Admission Amendment and Legal Practitioners' Fidelity Fund Act 19of 1941, the Admission of Advocates Acts 74 of 1964 of South Africa and the former Transkei, Bophuthatswana, Venda and Ciskei states, the Attorneys Acts of South Africa and Ciskei 53 of 1979 and Venda 42 of 1987, the Attorneys, Notaries and Conveyancers Act of Bophuthatswana 29 of 1984, the Recognition of Foreign Legal Qualifications and Practice Act 114 of 1993 and the Right of Appearance in Courts Act 62 of 1995.
Section 133(1)(b) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 (the Act) provides that : '(1) During business rescue proceedings, no legal proceeding, including enforcement action, against the company, or in relation to any property belonging to the company, or lawfully in its possession, may be commenced or proceeded with in any forum.
This column discusses judgments as and when they are published in the South African Law Reports, the All South African Law Reports and the South African Criminal Law Reports. Readers should note that some reported judgments may have been overruled or overturned on appeal or have an appeal pending against them : Readers should not rely on a judgment discussed here without checking on that possibility - Editor.