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Parliament Briefed on Legal Practice Act Regulations

June 11, 2021

Parliament

Parliament has been briefed on draft amendments to Legal Practice Act Regulations.

The justice and constitutional development department sought comment on the draft regulations in August 2020.

The regulations were published in Government Gazette 41879 on 31 August 2018.

They list the seats of the provincial councils.

Other issues covered in the regulations include the election procedure for election of legal practitioners for purposes of constituting the council; establishment, composition and powers and functions of provincial councils; practical vocational training requirements; right of appearance of pupils in court or any other institution and a mechanism to wind up the affairs of the National Forum.

7A on programme of structured course work is to be inserted into regulation 7.

As a consequence, the structured course work of candidate attorneys and pupils will be the same.

A new sub-regulation 6 for regulation 6 is proposed.

It stipulates that an attorney engaging a candidate attorney must have “practised as an attorney for a period of not less than three years, or for periods of not less than three years in the aggregate, during the preceding four years or during the four years prior to being engaged by Legal Aid South Africa or the institution concerned”.

Amendments are also proposed to regulation 7.

In the briefing to the select committee on security and justice, the department indicated that regulation 4(a) will enhance access to training and allow for flexibility by providing pupils with two options, namely, 12 months practical vocational training plus 150 hours structured course work during or after the practical training or 400 hours structured course work before the practical vocational training plus 12 months practical vocational training.

The department added that the presidency: policy and research exempted it from conducting a socio-economic impact assessment on the amendment regulations.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape Division of the High Court (Cape Town) is currently hearing Public Protector Advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s latest application to stop parliament’s enquiry into whether or not there are grounds for her removal from office.

In a statement, parliament points out that the Public Protector’s Part B application “challenges the validity of the new National Assembly (NA) Rules. Advocate Mkhwebane seeks a declaration that the rules are unlawful, unconstitutional, invalid, null and void”.

“The Public Protector’s current Part B application follows dismissal of her Part A court application. Part A sought to interdict the NA from continuing processing a motion for the Public Protector’s removal from office, pending the outcome of Part B.”