n South African Journal of Criminal Justice - Professional incompetence, voluntariness and the right to a fair trial




It is obvious that the right to legal representation, guaranteed in s 35 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa must include competent legal representation. The right to legal representation is traditionally viewed as a pre-requisite for the protection of the privilege against self-incrimination. If this line of reasoning is pursued it follows that legal representation is required to uphold the privilege against self-incrimination. But the following questions arise : how does a court determine incompetence and when will incompetence render a trial unfair?


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