Calling all attorneys: Have you been part of the establishment of the provincial attorneys’ associations?

November 1st, 2019
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In the past few weeks the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) has been holding meetings for the establishment of provincial attorneys’ associations in the nine provinces of South Africa. The purpose of the meetings is to discuss the establishment of provincial associations as set out in the preamble of the LSSA constitution, which states:

‘We, the representatives of legal practitioners in South Africa, the Black Lawyers Association, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, the Independent Lawyers Associations from the nine provinces of South
Africa as the constituent members of the Law Society of South Africa, in recognising the changes brought about by the Legal Practice Act:

  • having realised the impact of the Legal Practice Act and agreed to the restructuring of the legal profession and its governing bodies and having adopted the principles contained herein;
  • having agreed in principle to the creation of a national voluntary structure with a national executive body to represent the profession;
  • having agreed that the new national structure shall be neither unitary nor federal but could comprise elements of both;
  • having co-operated formally since July 1996 via an agreement between the Black Lawyers Association, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers, the Law Societies of the Free State, KwaZulu-Natal, the Northern Provinces and the Cape Provinces;
  • having decided to further transform the governance and representation of the legal profession in South
    Africa;
  • having noted that the provincial law societies will cease to exist, the local associations or circles will form a provincial lawyers’ association in each province. These associations shall consist of the Black Lawyers Association, the National Association of Democratic Lawyers and the independent constituents. The independent attorneys of each of the provincial associations shall nominate a provincial representative to the House of Constituents;
  • having noted that the Legal Practice Act places the regulatory functions with the Legal Practice Council;
  • commit ourselves to building a transformed organised legal profession which is non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, representative, transparent and accountable to all whom it serves and the public at large; and to that end we shall strive to advance the interests of women, the youth and people living with disabilities;
  • commit ourselves to protecting and advancing the rights and interests of our members in relation to the regulatory activities of the Legal Practice Council and other authorities; and
  • commit ourselves to influence the transformation of the economic structure in South Africa in order to advance the interest of our members, particularly the previously disadvantaged’ (see www.LSSA.org.za).

At the inaugural LSSA attorneys’ association establishment meeting held in East London on 2 October, the
President of the LSSA, Mvuzo Notyesi, said that the independence of the profession must be preserved. Mr Notyesi highlighted the fact that the 23-member Legal Practice Council (LPC) has diverse interests and that the LPC’s sole role is to regulate the profession. Mr Notyesi reiterated the importance of the role the LSSA plays in the day-to-day running of attorney practices. He said that it would be difficult to question organisations and law makers if there is no LSSA to speak on behalf of the profession. He asked who would escalate unfair legislation or unfair pricing/fees if there is no LSSA? At times, the LSSA stops matters affecting attorneys long before the attorneys are aware of such matters (see ‘Inaugural LSSA attorneys’ association establishment meeting heldwww.derebus.org.za, accessed 23-10-2019).

As an attorney, it is in your best interest to be part of the formulation of the provincial attorneys’ associations. The LSSA will be sending out invitations, during the next few weeks, to the meetings that will be held across the nine provinces. If you have missed a meeting, there is likely to be a follow-up meeting that you can attend in your province. Please visit the establishment meetings page on the De Rebus website to see when a meeting will be held in your province www.derebus.org.za

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This article was first published in De Rebus in 2019 (Nov) DR 3.