LPA National Forum expected early in 2015

February 1st, 2015

By Barbara Whittle

Chapter 10 of the Legal Practice Act 28 of 2014 (LPA) makes provision for the National Forum on the Legal Profession (NF) – the transitional body that will deal with the nuts and bolts to flesh out the framework for the regulation of legal practitioners in terms of the LPA.

It is expected that the implementation date for this chapter will be announced early in 2015 by the President. The existing law society structures are expected to continue to exist for three years from the implementation date of chap 10 of the LPA. One of the tasks of the NF will be to negotiate for the transfer of these structures to the Legal Practice Council (LPC).

At the end of last year, the Law Society of South Africa (LSSA) communicated the details of the eight attorneys who will represent the attorneys’ profession on the NF to the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services, Michael Masutha, in anticipation of the implementation date for chap 10 of the LPA being announced early this year and the first meeting of the NF being called by the Justice Department.

Section 96(1)(a)(i) of the LPA stipulates that the LSSA must designate eight attorneys, two of whom represent the Black Lawyers Association (BLA), two from the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL), and one from each of the four statutory provincial law societies.

The LSSA’s designated representatives on the NF are –

• Max Boqwana (NADEL);

• Krish Govender (NADEL);

• Jan Maree (Law Society of the Free State);

• Martha Mbhele (Black Lawyers Association);

• Janine Myburgh (Cape Law Society);

• Praveen Sham (KwaZulu-Natal Law Society);

• Lutendo Sigogo (Black Lawyers Association); and

• Jan Stemmett (Law Society of the Northern Provinces).

The LSSA’s NF delegates met early in December last year to lay the groundwork for work to be done this year. Max Boqwana was nominated as chairperson of the LSSA delegation and Jan Stemmett as deputy chairperson.

The LSSA NF delegates acknowledged that the attorneys’ profession must take a united leadership role in the NF discussions with well-informed positions based on sound research and international best practice.

The LSSA NF delegates highlighted the following during their first discussion:

• The need to meet with other stakeholders on the NF (advocates, Legal Aid South Africa and the Attorneys Fidelity Fund) to discuss common positions.

• The need to provide guidance to the NF on rules and regulations, using the recently adopted uniform rules of attorneys’ profession as a basis, and taking into account the rules of the Bar.

• The need to research international codes of conduct and aspects relating to fees.

• The need to consider regulatory and non-regulatory functions currently being performed by the provincial law societies and the LSSA with a view to identifying which will be dealt with by the National Legal Practice Council in terms of the LPA, and then to consider what should be done to preserve the non-regulatory activities of the attorneys profession such as legal education and development, De Rebus and advocacy initiatives.

• The need to identify anomalies in the LPA that may be unworkable or impractical and to collate these for possible submission as amendments to the LPA.

Keep informed on the LPA and engage with the LSSA

A separate section dealing with the LPA and the NF has been set up on the LSSA website and will be updated with the latest information and developments (www.LSSA.org.za).

The LSSA plans to arrange roadshows at the most appropriate time in 2015 to reach practitioners across the country and engage with them on the LPA, particularly on aspects that will have a direct impact on practitioners and their practices.

Practitioners are encouraged to contact the LSSA if they have identified aspects of the LPA that require amendment or to raise questions and issues related to the LPA.

• E-mail: LSSA@LSSA.org.za

• Fax: (012) 362 0969

• Tel: (012) 366 8800

Compiled by Barbara Whittle, communication manager, Law Society of South Africa, barbara@lssa.org.za

This article was first published in De Rebus in 2015 (Jan/Feb) DR 21.