n Comparative and International Law Journal of Southern Africa - Challenges facing the harmonisation of the SADC legal profession : South Africa and Botswana under the spotlight

Volume 46, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0010-4051



This paper reviews the harmonisation of the legal professions within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), with particular emphasis on Botswana and South Africa. The subject has not attracted much scholarly attention as it is perceived as a preserve of the professional legal practice, rather than an academic legal discourse. The paper, therefore, contributes a new perspective to a deficient, if not non-existent, scholarship on the free movement of legal services within the sub-region and globally. It ponders the question of accessibility of the professions in either jurisdiction to either citizens, and to other SADC citizens. It is not merely an academic odyssey, as it aims to discuss the real practical challenges facing the harmonisation of the legal professions in the region. It is argued that these challenges must be circumvented before any meaningful advance towards harmonisation of the SADC legal profession can be achieved. The paradox of nationalism and regionalism is clearly illustrated as the vortex of the disharmony in the jurisdictions considered. The paper identifies the pitfalls relating to admission requirements, and contends that they are symptoms of the interests of the atomistic nation-state, premised on the concept of market protectionism. It further considers the free movement of legal services under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

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