oa Fundamina : A Journal of Legal History - The origins of the division of the legal profession in South Africa : a brief overview

Volume 16, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-545X
  • E-ISSN: 2411-7870



The Legal Practice Bill of 2009 raises the possibility of the fusion of the legal professions of advocates and attorneys. This issue has attracted a lot of attention, not only from members of the legal profession, but also in the media. This article argues that policy decisions concerning the future of the legal profession cannot be made without a sound understanding of the various influences on, and historical development of the profession. It provides an overview of the history of the legal profession in South Africa and focuses in particular on the historical antecedents of a divided profession, in Roman, early medieval, Roman-Dutch and English law. It concludes by briefly summarising the major arguments for and against the fusion of the legal profession.

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